Higher incidence of esophageal lesions after ablation of atrial fibrillation related to the use of esophageal temperature probes


      Endoscopically detected esophageal lesions (EDELs) have been identified in apparently asymptomatic patients after catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF). The use of esophageal probes to monitor luminal esophageal temperature (LET) during catheter ablation to protect esophageal damage is currently controversial.


      The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the use of esophageal temperature probes during AF catheter ablation on the incidence of EDELs.


      Eighty consecutive patients (mean age 63.8 ± 11.36 years; 68.8% men) with symptomatic, drug-refractory paroxysmal (n = 52, 65%) or persistent AF who underwent left atrial radiofrequency catheter ablation were prospectively enrolled. Posterior wall ablation was power limited (≤25 W). In the first 40 patients, LET was monitored continuously (group A), whereas no esophageal temperature probe was used in group B (n = 40 patients). Assessment of EDEL was performed by endoscopy within 2 days after radiofrequency catheter ablation.


      Overall, 13 patients (16%) developed EDELs after AF ablation. The incidence of EDELs was significantly higher in group A than group B (30% vs 2.5%, P < .01). Within group A, patients who developed EDEL had higher maximal LET during AF ablation than patients without EDEL (40.97 ± 0.92°C vs 40.14 ± 1.1°C, P = .02). Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed the use of an esophageal temperature probe as the only independent predictor for the development of EDEL (odds ratio 16.7, P < .01).


      The use of esophageal temperature probes in the setting of AF catheter ablation per se appears to be a risk factor for the development of EDEL.


      AF (atrial fibrillation), BMI (body mass index), EDEL (endoscopically detected esophageal lesion), LA (left atrial), LET (luminal esophageal temperature), PPI (proton pump inhibitor)


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