What are the complications associated with catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (Afib) (AF)?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Lawrence Rosenthal, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Answer

Complications are rarely seen with catheter ablation of AF, but they can include cardiac perforation, pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade, vascular access complications (bleeding, pseudoaneurysms), pulmonary vein stenosis, thromboembolism, atrioesophageal fistula, left atrial flutter/tachycardia, and phrenic nerve injury (which is more common with cryoballoon ablation). Pulmonary vein stenosis develops in about 6% of patients and may cause dyspnea, chest pain, cough, and hemoptysis. [4] If pulmonary vein stenosis is suspected following catheter ablation, further diagnostic workup with transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), spiral CT scanning, or MRI is recommended. MRI is the most accurate test in diagnosing this complication. Patients with pulmonary vein stenosis should undergo percutaneous angioplasty, which can significantly improve pulmonary blood flow and the patient's symptoms.

Go to Catheter Ablation for complete information on this topic.


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