DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.18886 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 18886: Rare but Fatal: Thrombus Formation and Cerebral Infarction Following Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Kunjan Udani, Ateet Kosaraju, Lakshmi Subramanian, Sashwath Srikanth, Sivakumar Ardhanari
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: Atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation has become increasingly common as a first line treatment for young, healthy patients and recurrent AF. While the procedures are effective and safe with a mortality rate of <0.1%, it can be associated with fatal complications.

Case Presentation: A 74-year-old male with a history of AF status post epicardial ablation, ascending and thoracic aortic aneurysm, hypertension, dilated cardiomyopathy, sick sinus syndrome and alcohol use presented with left hemiparesis and left sided facial droop. He had undergone radiofrequency ablation about 3 weeks prior. Initial evaluation for stroke with computed tomography (CT) of head and CT angiography (CTA) of head/neck was negative. He was intubated for airway protection. Upon insertion of the nasogastric tube, it had dark blood concerning for an upper gastrointestinal bleed. The hospital course was complicated by sinus bradycardia and severe hypotension requiring dopamine and norepinephrine infusions. Repeat CTA head/neck demonstrated new evolving infarcts in the left middle cerebral artery (MCA), left posterior cerebral artery and right MCA territories. During an esophagogastroduodenoscopy to rule out atrioesophageal fistula, patient had a vasovagal episode which resolved with epinephrine. Subsequent transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) demonstrated an echogenic long protruding thrombus extending across the iatrogenic atrial septal defect from the right atrium to the posterior wall of the left atrium, attached near the ostium of the right lower pulmonary vein. Repeat CT head multiple new areas concerning for developing infarctions and pneumocephalus. Given his overall grim prognosis, the patient was transitioned to comfort care.

Conclusions: As ablative procedures for management of AF become more prevalent, it is imperative to maintain a high clinical suspicion for rare but fatal complications which require prompt diagnosis and early aggressive management.

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