Nitroglycerin to Ameliorate Coronary Artery Spasm During Focal Pulsed-Field Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

Yury Malyshev, Petr Neuzil, Jan Petru, Moritoshi Funasako, Pavel Hala, Karel Kopriva, Christopher Schneider, Anitha Achyutha, Annelies Vanderper, Daniel Musikantow, Mohit Turagam, Srinivas R. Dukkipati, Vivek Y. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: In treating atrial fibrillation, pulsed-field ablation (PFA) has comparable efficacy to conventional thermal ablation, but with important safety advantages: no esophageal injury or pulmonary vein stenosis, and rare phrenic nerve injury. However, when PFA is delivered in proximity to coronary arteries using a pentaspline catheter, which generates a broad electrical field, severe vasospasm can be provoked. Objectives: The authors sought to study the vasospastic potential of a focal PFA catheter with a narrower electrical field and develop a preventive strategy with nitroglycerin. Methods: During atrial fibrillation ablation, a focal PFA catheter was used for cavotricuspid isthmus ablation. Angiography of the right coronary artery (some with fractional flow reserve measurement) was performed before, during, and after PFA. Beyond no nitroglycerin (n = 5), and a few testing strategies (n = 8), 2 primary nitroglycerin administration strategies were studied: 1) multiple boluses (3-2 mg every 2 min) into the right atrium (n = 10), and 2) a bolus (3 mg) into the right atrium with continuous peripheral intravenous infusion (1 mg/min; n = 10). Results: Without nitroglycerin, cavotricuspid isthmus ablation provoked moderate-severe vasospasm in 4 of 5 (80%) patients (fractional flow reserve 0.71 ± 0.08). With repetitive nitroglycerin boluses, severe spasm did not occur, and mild-moderate vasospasm occurred in only 2 of 10 (20%). Using the bolus + infusion strategy, severe and mild-moderate spasm occurred in 1 and 3 of 10 patients (aggregate 40%). No patient had ST-segment changes. Conclusions: Ablation of the cavotricuspid isthmus using a focal PFA catheter routinely provokes right coronary vasospasm. Pretreatment with high doses of parenteral nitroglycerin prevents severe spasm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-896
Number of pages12
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • cavotricuspid isthmus
  • cavotricuspid isthmus ablation
  • nitroglycerin
  • pulsed field ablation
  • spasm
  • vasospasm


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