Radiofrequency needle for transseptal puncture is associated with lower incidence of thromboembolism during catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation: propensity score-matched analysis


Atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation requires transseptal puncture to access the left atrium. Recently, a radiofrequency (RF) needle was developed. The purpose of this study was to compare the incidence of MRI-confirmed acute cerebral embolism (ACE) during AF ablation procedures performed with RF needle versus mechanical needle transseptal puncture. This study consisted of 383 consecutive patients who underwent catheter ablation for AF that required transseptal puncture with mechanical or radiofrequency transseptal needles. Of those, 232 propensity score-matched patients (116 with each needle type) were included in the analysis. All patients had cerebral MRI performed 1 or 2 days after the procedure. Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups. Total procedure time was significantly shorter in Group RF than Group non-RF (167 ± 50 vs. 181 ± 52 min, P = 0.01). ACE was detected by MRI in 59 (25%) patients. All patients with ACE were asymptomatic. Incidence of ACE was lower in Group RF than Group non-RF (19 vs. 32%, P = 0.02). B-type natriuretic peptide level was higher in the patients with ACE as compared to those without ACE (65.2 ± 68.7 vs. 44.7 ± 55.1 pg/ml, P = 0.02). In multivariable analysis, the use of RF needle and BNP level was related to the incidence of ACE (OR = 0.499, 95% CI 0.270–0.922, P = 0.03 and OR = 1.005, 95% CI 1.000–1.010, P = 0.03). Use of RF needle for transseptal puncture was associated with lower total procedure time and risk of ACE during catheter ablation of AF.

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Correspondence to Michifumi Tokuda.

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Tokuda, M., Yamashita, S., Matsuo, S. et al. Radiofrequency needle for transseptal puncture is associated with lower incidence of thromboembolism during catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation: propensity score-matched analysis. Heart Vessels 33, 1238–1244 (2018).

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  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Catheter ablation
  • Transseptal
  • Radiofrequency needle
  • Embolism