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Posts Tagged ‘slow fast avnrt’

Identifying the P wave is the key to decode  any  narrow QRS  tachycardia . Though the  the relationship to  p and  qrs is vita ,  many times it is  not  easy to  relate them.More easily one  may  get  a  clue to the mechanism by analysing   P wave timing .This is the basis of calling narrow qrs tachycardia as short RP and long RP.

Wonder   . . .  why  the  relation “P to R” became  “R to P” here !

Since  in the   common narrow qrs tachycardias  AVNRT/AVRT  ,  atria  activates  the atria  in a  retrograde manner , we look  for the relationship of qrs complex on subsequent P wave . Hence the interval between R to P become the focus.

In other words RP interval indicates retrograde  conduction property of AV tissue .

If it is slow the P wave will be well separated from QRS .

If it is fast it will be close to QRS complex .

If it is ultra fast as in some AVNRT ,it can fall within the qrs complex and completely invisible .

(The so called  r’ prime in classical AVNRT is nothing but a distorted p wave on the terminal qrs complex.)

Based on  RP interval  the following classification is used (List is incomplete)

Short RP Tachycardia

  • AVNRT (Slow-Fast )
  • AVRT

Long  RP tachycardia

  • Atypical AVNRT(Fast -slow)
  • Atrial tachycardia*
  • Sinus tachycardia*
  • SA nodal re-entry*
  • Some forms of AVRT

* Please note ,  here the P wave is not determined by the preceding qrs unlike other tachycardia in the list.

What is the  cut off point to call it is Short RP /Long RP ?

It is arbitrary . Following may help

If RP interval > PR interval it is long RP.

If the absolute RP interval is >  100  ms  with the heart rate of > 160 it would  generally  Indicate a long RP tachycardia .

The timing  of  retrograde P can be very complex than we believe  as the following factors heavily influence it.

  • The autonomic tone
  • Site of retrograde atrial  breakthrough point .
  • Atrial size ,
  • Atrial  refractionaries
  • Effect of drugs
  • Intact-ness of inter atrial conduction
  • Chances of the retrograde atrial activation capturing Internodal pathway

Final message

The P wave location in narrow qrs tachycardia is primarily determined by the retrograde VA  conduction and less  on the antegrade AV conduction  . Looking at the interval between R and P is a  quick way of getting the VA conduction in the bed side.

Once we get an  idea how the VA  circuit  conducts , we can narrow down the possibilities  in  Narrow qrs tachycardias !

Comming  soon

What determines the morphology of retrograde P waves in AVNRT/AVRT ?

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Adenosine is a  purine analogue. Acts by stimulating outward K+ channel  of AV nodal tissue, more specifically  in the posteriorly   located  slow pathway in the vicinity of  coronary sinus.

Another action of adenosine is inhibition of cAMP , which is similar to beta blocking action may also help in terminating the tachycardia.

Adenosine : A 10 second cardiac miracle

  • 12mg bolus is administered , preferably in a central vein (Not mandatory  though)
  • Termination is usually abrupt . Transient VPDs are observed during termination.
  • Transient flushing may occur.
  • If the patient is taking Aminophylline group of drugs (Which are adenosine antagonists) the AV nodal blocking action may be neutralised .

(It may be apt to recall  at this juncture ,  Aminophylline is used in sinus node dysfunction or AV block to increase heart rate )

Reference

A good one from Medscape http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/585287_2

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AV nodal reentrant tachycadia(AVNRT) is the commonest mechanism of SVT. It is divided into slow-fast, fast-slow, slow-slow , representing the two limbs of he circuit.

Slow -Slow circuit is  the rarest  type of AVNRT.  It should be appreciated  ,  the scientific validity of  slow-slow circuit is  applicable  only in relative terms . A virtually  similar antegrade and retrograde limbs with identical conduction velocity and refractory  properties  , can neither  initiate  nor  sustain an AVNRT.

Caveat in the definition of slow -slow AVNRT.

Even though ,  we call it   a  slow-slow  tachycardia , one of the limbs need to be faster than the other.  So , every slow -Slow AVNRT in reality will have  two types

  • Slow- Slow ( Still , faster than antegrade slow) mimic a slow-fast physiology
  • Slow( Faster than retograde slow )  -Slow closely mimic typical  fast slow .

Implication for electrophysiologists  and   points of contention for the ablationist !

  • In Slow -Slow AVNRT ablation we do not know exactly ,  which of the slow pathway is being ablated , unless we specifically  analyse  the post ablative  data.
  • Very often it is not done.Every one in the lab is happy , for breaking the tachycardia circuit. Only after the procedure is over , we may realise the tachycardia is not really killed as it finds an alternate highway to complete  the short circuiting of heart.
  • We need to  suspect this type of AVNRT   prior to the  procedure .Electrophysiologist  shall  spend little   more time and a wide area ablation done , in the vicinity  of coronary sinus ostium can be attempted. .

It is not a smart practice to advocate  wide area ablation as a routine protocol in all AVNRT

as it directly  increase the rate of complication >

Final message

A   hurriedly  done slow pathway ablation  which  may  temporarily terminate the AVNRT ,only to recur later as  the retrograde  slow pathway may again form  a substrate  .The area of slow conduction  acts as a turnaround gateway and capture  the  retrograde fast  pathway which  could be  available in plenty in the anterior aspects of AV node  .   (Note : The unablated  slow pathway  now  form the antegrade  circuit )

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