Radiation Exposure During Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation


  • Supported (R.W.) in part by the Amy and Althesan Saw Overseas Medical Fellowship of the University of Western Australia.

Address for reprints: Laurent Macle, M.D., Service du professeur Clementy, Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut-Lévêque, Ave. de Magellan, 33604 Bordeaux-Pessac, France. Fax: 33-5-56-55-65-09; e-mail: Jacques.clementy@pu.u-bordeaux2.fr


MACLE, L., et al.: Radiation Exposure During Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation.RF catheter ablation of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is associated with prolonged fluoroscopy. The procedural duration and fluoroscopic exposure to patients and medical staff were recorded and compared among 43 ablation procedures for PAF, 20 for common atrial flutter, and 16 for accessory pathways. Patient radiation exposure was measured by dosimeters placed over the xyphoid, while that of physicians and nurses was measured by dosimeters placed outside and inside the lead apron. The mean fluoroscopy time was57 ± 30minutes for PAF,20 ± 10minutes for common flutter, and22 ± 21minutes for accessory pathway ablation. The patient median radiation exposure was 1110μSv for PAF, compared with 500 μSv for common flutter and 560 μSv for accessory pathway ablation (P < 0.01). The median radiation exposure to physician and nurse inside the lead apron were, respectively, 2 μSv and 3 μSv for PAF, 1 μSv and 2 μSv for common flutter, and <0.5 μSv and 3 μSv for accessory pathway ablations. RF catheter ablation for PAF was associated with prolonged fluoroscopy times and a twofold higher radiation exposure to the patient and physician compared with other ablation procedures. Assuming 300 procedures/year, radiation exposure to the medical staff was below the upper recommended annual dose limit. (PACE 2003; 26[Pt. II]:288–291)