Postablation-acquired short atrioventricular Mahaim-type fibers: Observations on their clinical, electrocardiographic, and electrophysiologic profile

Eduardo Back Sternick*, Frederico Soares Correa, Silvia Rego, Daniela Moreira Santos, Fernando Damascena, Ricardo Scarpelli, Luiz Marcio Gerken, Hein J. J. Wellens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


BACKGROUND The electrophysiologic characteristics of decrementally conducting accessory pathways (APs) are well described; however, little is known about decrementally conducting APs caused by the radiofrequency ablation of a rapidly conducting AP. OBJECTIVE To report the clinical, electrocardiographic, and electrophysiologic characteristics of 6 patients who developed a decremental AP after an attempt at ablation. METHODS We compared the clinical and electrophysiologic characteristics of 295 consecutive patients with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome who underwent radiofrequency ablation of 311 manifest APs (group A) with those of 6 patients with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome in whom a decrementally conducting AP was detected after an attempt at ablation. RESULTS The AP ablation site in group B patients was at the coronary sinus ostium region in 3 patients, middle cardiac vein in 2 patients, and left posteroseptal region in 1 patient. Sixty-two bypass tracts in group A patients and all 6 in group B patients were ablated at these locations, while 249 bypass tracts in group A patients and none in group B patients were ablated elsewhere (P = .0001). Five of the 6 patients (83%) with acquired Mahaim physiology had an AP located in the venous system. The odds for developing an acquired decremental antegrade atrioventricular AP when it was located inside the venous system were 1 in 6. All group B decremental APs were sensitive to adenosine, but none in 85 group A patients (P <.0001). CONCLUSIONS The risk for developing decremental conduction after the ablation of a rapidly conducting AP is greater for APs inside the coronary venous system. Acquired decremental antegrade atrioventricular APs are electrophysiologically similar to de novo ones. They are capable of being part of an arrhythmia circuit and, therefore, should be targeted for ablation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-858
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Decrementally conducting accessory pathways
  • Mahaim fibers
  • acquired Mahaim fibers
  • Radiofrequency catheter ablation
  • Accessory pathways
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  • Adenosine

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