The following article requires a subscription:

(Format: HTML, PDF)

Background-: Puncture of the atrial appendage may provide access to the pericardial space. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of epicardial mapping and ablation through an endocardial transatrial access in a swine model.

Methods and Results-: An 8-F Mullins sheath was used to perforate the right (n=16) or left (n=1) atrial appendage in 17 pigs (median weight, 27.5 kg; first and third quartiles [Q1, Q3], 25.2, 30.0 kg). A 7-F ablation catheter was introduced into the pericardial space to perform epicardial mapping and deliver radiofrequency pulses on the atria. The pericardial space was entered in all 17 animals. In 15 (88%) animals, there was no hemodynamic instability (mean blood pressure monitoring, initial median, 80 mm Hg; Q1, Q3, 70, 86 mm Hg; final median, 88 mm Hg; Q1, Q3, 80, 96 mm Hg; P=0.426). In these 15, a mild hemorrhagic pericardial effusion was identified and aspirated (median, 20 mL; Q1, Q3, 15, 30 mL) during the procedure, and postmortem gross analysis revealed that the atrial perforation was closed in these animals. In 2 (12%) of the 17 animals, there was major pericardial bleeding with hemodynamic collapse. On gross examination, it was found that pericardial space was accessed through right ventricular perforation in 1 animal and the tricuspid annulus in the other. After the initial study, we used an occlusion device in 3 other animals to attempt to seal the puncture (2 at the right atrial appendage and 1 at the right ventricle). These 3 animals had no significant pericardial bleeding.

Conclusions-: Transatrial endovascular right atrial appendage puncture may provide a potential alternative route for pericardial access. Further studies are needed to evaluate its safety with longer and more-complex procedures before being applied in clinical settings.

(C) 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.