Two methods of serial electrophysiologic testing are in widespread use. Most commonly, the electrode catheter is removed after each study and a new catheter reinserted through the femoral vein for every subsequent test. An alternative method employs an electrode catheter that remains in place during several days of serial testing. Little is known about differences between these two methods with respect to the likelihood of induction of arrhythmia or the frequency of complications. To determine whether inducibility of sustained arrhythmia is altered or if the frequency of complications is unacceptably high with use of an indwelling catheter, a prospective randomized study was conducted in 78 patients. Each patient underwent baseline testing, several days of electropharmacologic testing with an indwelling catheter, a 24 h drug elimination period and placement of a new electrode catheter. Ventricular stimulation studies were then performed in each patient with both the indwelling and new electrode catheters. No differences were found between the indwelling and new catheter tests with respect to induction of arrhythmia, number of estrastimuli required to induce arrhythmia, rate of arrhythmia or requirement for cardioversion. Ventricular pacing thresholds were higher and effective refractory periods were slightly longer when measured with the indwelling catheter. Complications related to the 156 catheter insertions included two that may have been related to the indwelling catheter (one episode of staphylococcal sepsis and one presumed pulmonary embolism) and four that were related to invasive procedures (pneumothorax in all). There were no long-term adverse sequelae of these complications. An indwelling pacing catheter has induction characteristics identical to those of a newly placed catheter and complications of the indwelling catheter are infrequent. This approach may have advantages for patients and physicians.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine