CT imaging of complications of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

Authors: G.S. Shroff, M.S. Guirguis, E.C. Ferguson, S.A.A. Oldham, B.K. Kantharia


The complication rate following radiofrequency catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation is low (<5%). Complications include pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade, pulmonary vein stenosis, oesophageal ulceration or perforation, atrio-oesophageal fistula formation, stroke/transient ischaemic attack, phrenic nerve injury, haematoma at the puncture site, and femoral arteriovenous fistula. Among available imaging tools, computed tomography (CT) can be very useful in diagnosing complications of the procedure, particularly in the subacute and delayed stages after ablation. This review illustrates CT imaging of several of the common and uncommon complications of radiofrequency catheter ablation.