• ablation;
  • electrophysiology – clinical;
  • new technology;
  • pediatrics


Patients with congenital heart disease carry a high burden of arrhythmias and may pose special challenges when these arrhythmias are addressed invasively. We sought to describe our early experience with radiofrequency (RF) needle transseptal perforation to facilitate ablation procedures in this population.


Retrospective chart review to identify all cases of attempted transseptal access with a commercial RF needle at Children's Hospital Boston between February 2007 and January 2010.


A total of 10 patients had attempted RF transseptal perforation. Median age was 27 years. Five patients had undergone atrial switch procedures (Mustard/Senning), four had undergone Fontan operations, and one had atrial septal defect repair. The indication for left atrial access was mapping/ablation of atrial flutter in nine cases, and left-sided accessory pathway in one case. The RF needle was chosen primarily in eight of 10 cases, whereas in the remaining two cases RF was used only after failed attempts with a conventional Brockenbrough needle. Septal material was atrial muscle in five cases, pericardium in three, and synthetic fabric in two. In nine of 10 patients, RF transseptal perforation was successful, including both patients in whom a conventional needle had failed. There were no clinically significant complications.


RF transseptal perforation can be an effective method of obtaining left atrial access for electrophysiologic procedures in patients with complex congenital heart disease, including cases where a conventional Brockenbrough needle has failed.