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Transesophageal Echocardiography for the Diagnosis of Pulmonary Vein Stenosis after Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: A Systematic Review


Address for correspondence and reprint requests: Chittur A. Sivaram, M.D., 920 Stanton L Young Blvd, WP 3010, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. Fax: 405-271-2619; E-mail:


Aims: Pulmonary vein (PV) stenosis is a potentially serious complication of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF). The optimal method for diagnosis of PV stenosis has not been established. We undertook a systematic review of the literature to investigate the diagnostic performance of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) for the detection of PV stenosis after catheter ablation of AF. Methods: We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE databases for studies evaluating the diagnostic performance of TEE for the detection of PV stenosis after catheter ablation of AF, compared to a reference standard of PV angiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT). Study quality was assessed using the QUADAS tool. Results: A total of seven studies that included 344 patients (1,344 PVs) met the selection criteria. Of these, three studies used PV angiography as the reference standard, while MRI and CT were used in two studies each. Compared to PV angiography, TEE had sensitivity between 82% and 100% and specificity between 98% and 100%. Compared to MRI, TEE sensitivity was 100% in both studies, while the specificity ranged between 98% and 99%. Compared to CT, TEE had sensitivity between 86% and 100% and specificity of 95%. Quality of the reviewed studies was somewhat limited by the retrospective design in most of the studies. Conclusions: TEE has a high sensitivity and specificity in detecting PV stenosis. Given its wide availability and favorable side effect profile, these data suggest that TEE is very useful tool for the diagnosis of PV stenosis after catheter ablation of AF. (Echocardiography 2010;27:1141-1146)