Outcome of ACHD patients with non-inducible versus inducible IART undergoing cavo-tricuspid isthmus ablation: the role of empiric ablation



Catheter ablation for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) is an important therapeutic option. Cavo-tricuspid isthmus (CTI)-dependent intraatrial re-entrant tachycardia (IART) is common. However, induction of sustained tachycardia at the time of ablation is not always possible. We hypothesised that performing an empiric CTI line in case of non-inducibility leads to good outcomes. Long-term outcomes of empiric versus entrained CTI ablation in ACHD patients were examined.


Retrospective, single-centre, case-control study over 7 years. Arrhythmia-free survival after empiric versus entrained CTI ablation was compared.


Eighty-seven CTI ablations were performed in 85 ACHD patients between 2010 and 2017. The mean age of the cohort was 43 years and 48% were male. Underlying aetiology included ASD (31%), VSD (11.4%), AVSD (9.1%), AVR (4.8%), Fallot’s (18.4%), Ebstein’s (2.3%), Fontan’s palliation (9.2%) and atrial switch (13.8%). CTI-dependent IART was entrained in 59 patients whereas it was non-inducible in 28. The latter had an empiric CTI ablation. Forty-three percent of procedures were performed under general anaesthesia. There were no reported procedural complications. There was no significant difference in the mean procedure or fluoroscopy times between the groups (empiric vs entrained CTI; 169.1 vs 183.3 and 28.1 vs 19.9 min). Arrhythmia-free survival was 64.3% versus 72.8% (p value 0.44) in the empiric and entrained groups at 21 months follow-up.


Long-term outcomes after empiric and entrained CTI ablation for IART in ACHD patients are comparable. This is a safe and effective therapeutic option. In the case of non-inducibility of IART, an empiric CTI line should be considered in this cohort.

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This study was facilitated by Barts Health NHS Trust.


VS: study concept and design, data collection, data analyses, manuscript draft and preparation; SCH, DP, AA, JG, SWA, HD: data collection; AM, PL, SC, AB, KVK, FW, BP: manuscript review; ML, VE: study concept and design, supervised data collection and manuscript draft, manuscript review.

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Correspondence to V. Sawhney.

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Sawhney, V., Mc Lellan, A., Chatha, S. et al. Outcome of ACHD patients with non-inducible versus inducible IART undergoing cavo-tricuspid isthmus ablation: the role of empiric ablation. J Interv Card Electrophysiol 60, 49–56 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10840-019-00692-y

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  • Intraatrial re-entrant tachycardia
  • Adult congenital heart disease
  • Empiric cavo-tricuspid isthmus ablation