Catheter ablation in a patient with atrial fibrillation may be associated with a number of complications. A patient should be informed of the risk for each when obtaining consent.


Potential complications of catheter ablation:

(1) damage to the mitral valve

(2) acute occlusion of a coronary artery

(3) acute thromboembolism with stroke

(4) air embolism

(5) stenosis of a pulmonary vein

(6) damage to the phrenic nerve

(7) damage to periesophageal vagus nerve

(8) vascular complications (arteriovenous fistula, pseudoaneurysm, hematoma, etc)

(9) retroperitoneal hemorrhage

(10) atrio-esophageal fistula

(11) cardiac perforation with tamponade

(12) sudden death

(13) rarely complications from equipment failure (excessive radiation exposure)


Late sequelae may include:

(1) thromboembolism secondary to altered atrial contractility

(2) left atrial tachyarrhythmia


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