Electrophysiologic characteristics and radiofrequency catheter ablation in patients with clockwise atrial flutter

Ching Tai Tai, Shih Ann Chen, Chern En Chiang, Szu-Chih Lee, Kwo Chang Ueng, Zu Chi Wen, Yi Jen Chen, Wen Chung Yu, Jin Long Huang, Chuen Wang Chiou, Mau Song Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


RF Catheter Ablation of Clockwise Atrial Flutter. Introduction: Although the mechanism and radiofrequency catheter ablation of counterclockwise (typical) atrial flutter have been studied extensively, information about the electrocardiographic and electrophysiologic characteristics and effects of radiofrequency ablation in patients with clockwise atrial flutter is limited. Methods and Results: Thirty consecutive patients with clinically documented paroxysmal clockwise atrial flutter were studied. Endocardial recordings and entrainment study using a 'halo' catheter with 10 electrode pairs in the right atrium were performed. Radiofrequency energy was applied to the inferior vena cava-tricuspid annulus (IVC-TA) and/or coronary sinus ostium- tricuspid annulus (CSO-TA) isthmus to evaluate the effects of linear catheter ablation. Eighteen patients had both counterclockwise and clockwise atrial flutters, and 12 patients had only clockwise atrial flutter. Both forms of atrial flutter had similar flutter cycle lengths (232 ± 30 vs 226 ± 25 msec, P = 0.526) but reverse activation sequences. Right atrial pacing at a cycle length 20 msec shorter than the flutter cycle length from the CSO-TA isthmus, IVC-TA isthmus, and the area between the two isthmuses revealed concealed entrainment with stimulus-to-P wave intervals of 32 ± 19, 95 ± 14, and 50 ± 17 msec (P = 0.022) in the counterclockwise form, and 110 ± 12, 40 ± 20, and 60 ± 15 msec (P = 0.018) in the clockwise form. In clockwise atrial flutter, 20 patients with biphasic P waves in the inferior leads had the presumed exit site of slow conduction area located at the low posterolateral right atrium; 10 patients with positive P waves in the inferior leads had the presumed exit site located at the mid-high posterolateral right atrium. Among the 18 patients with both forms of atrial flutter, linear ablation lesions directed at the IVC-TA isthmus eliminated both forms of atrial flutter in 14 patients; in the remaining 4 patients, CSO-TA linear lesions eliminated the counterclockwise form and IVC-TA lesions eliminated the clockwise form. Among the 12 patients with the clockwise form only, CSO-TA linear lesions eliminated flutter in 2 and IVC-TA linear lesions eliminated flutter in 10 patients. Successful ablation was confirmed by creation of bidirectional conduction block in the IVC-TA and/or CSO-TA isthmus during pacing from the proximal coronary sinus and right posterolateral atrium sandwiching the linear lesions. During the follow-up period of 17 ± 8 months, 2 patients had recurrence of clockwise atrial flutter, I patient had new onset of atypical atrial flutter, and 2 patients had new onset of atrial fibrillation. Conclusions: Counterclockwise and clockwise atrial flutters may have overlapping slow conduction areas with different exit sites. Radiofrequency catheter ablation using the linear method directed at the IVC-TA and CSO-TA isthmuses was feasible and effective in treating both forms of atrial flutter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • atrial flutter
  • catheter ablation
  • clockwise atrial flutter
  • counterclockwise atrial flutter
  • radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrophysiologic characteristics and radiofrequency catheter ablation in patients with clockwise atrial flutter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this