Importance of Tachycardia Cycle Length for Differentiating Typical Atrial Flutter from Scar-Related in Adult Congenital Heart Disease


  • Sources of Funding: This study was supported in part by research grants from Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2009-0176, 6-2010-0059, 7-2009-0583, 7-2010-0676) and the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2010-0021993).

  • Disclosure: None

Address for reprints: Boyoung Joung, M.D., Ph.D., Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University Health System, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-752, Republic of Korea. Fax: 82-2-393-2041; e-mail:


Background: Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) for intraatrial reentrant tachycardia (IART) in congenital heart disease (CHD) remains difficult.

Methods: Thirty-four consecutive adult patients (age, 37.6 ± 12.8 years; male, 21) with previously repaired CHD and IART underwent an electrophysiological study and RFCA. CHD included atrial septal defect (ASD, n = 14), tetralogy of Fallot (n = 11), ventricular septal defect (n = 4), pulmonary atresia (n = 2), atrioventricular septal defect (n = 1), transposition of the great arteries (n = 1), and double-outlet right ventricle (n = 1).

Results: Duration of CHD repair to IART onset was 19.1 ± 8.5 years. Thirty and four patients had single- and double-loop reentrant tachycardia, respectively. Among the total of 38 IARTs, which were mapped, 22 (57.9%) and 13 (34.2%) IARTs were cavotricuspid isthmus (CTI)-dependent atrial flutter (AFL) and scar-related AFL, respectively. Typical AFL electrocardiography findings including definite sawtooth appearance in inferior leads and positive F wave in lead V1 were observed in only 12 of 21 patients (57.1%) with CTI-dependent AFL. CTI-dependent AFL had a significantly longer tachycardia cycle length (TCL) than scar-related AFL (267.6 ± 34.4 ms and 235.9 ± 37.0 ms, respectively; P = 0.031). TCL > 250 ms had 79% sensitivity as the cutoff value for differentiating CTI-dependent from scar-related AFL. The acute success rates of RFCA in CTI-dependent and scar-related AFLs were 85.7% and 90.0%, respectively. The recurrence rates in CTI-dependent and scar-related AFLs were 11.1% and 11.1%, respectively, during a follow-up of 21.2 ± 28.3 months.

Conclusions: CTI-dependent AFL was the most common IART in adult patients with repaired CHD and was easily manageable by RFCA. TCL might help to differentiate CTI-dependent AFL from other IARTs. (PACE 2012;35:1338–1347)