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Keywords:

  • atrial flutter;
  • catheter ablation;
  • catheter inversion

Cure of typical atrial flutter (AFL) by catheter ablation to produce bidirectional block across the tricuspid annulus-inferior vena cava isthmus (IS) is highly effective, but failures may occur. We describe a technique that may allow creation of bidirectional block where a conventional strategy has failed.AFL ablation was performed using the conventional approach with a mapping/ablation (ablation) catheter introduced via the right femoral vein (RFV) to create a line of bidirectional block across the IS. If this was not achieved after five passes of the ablation catheter from the tricuspid annulus to the inferior vena cava (IVC) a catheter inversion technique was used. This allowed stable positioning of the ablation catheter at the IVC end of the isthmus. In 11 patients, a mean of 17 (range 3 to 45) radiofrequency (RF) applications was given before the catheter inversion technique was applied. Following catheter inversion a mean of 4 (1 to 14) further RF applications achieved bidirectional isthmus block in every patient. No complications occurred. Catheter inversion provides a simple, safe, and effective means of achieving bidirectional isthmus conduction block in cases where a conventional ablation strategy might have failed. (PACE 2004; 27[Pt. I]:775–778)