Background: Catheter-tissue contact force is an important factor influencing lesion size and efficacy and thereby potential for arrhythmia recurrence following accessory pathway (AP) radiofrequency ablation. We aim to evaluate adequacy and perception of catheter contact on the tricuspid and mitral annuli. Methods: Data were collected from 42 patients undergoing catheter ablation. Operators were blinded to contact force information and reported perceived contact (poor, moderate, or good) while positioning the catheter at four tricuspid annular sites (12, 9, 6 and 4 o'clock positions; abbreviated as TA12, TA9, TA6 and TA4) and three mitral annular sites (3, 5 and 7 o'clock positions; abbreviated as MA3, MA5 and MA7) through long vascular sheaths. Results: The highest and lowest mean contact forces were obtained at MA7 (13.3 ± 1.7 g) and TA12 (3.6 g ± 1.3 g) respectively. Mean contact force on tricuspid annulus (6.1 g ± 0.9 g) was lower than mitral annulus (9.8 ± 0.9 g) locations (p = 0.0036), with greater proportion of sites with <10 g contact force (81.7% vs 60.4%; p = 0.0075). Perceived contact had no impact on measured mean contact force for both mitral and tricuspid annular positions (p = 0.959 and 0.671 respectively). There was correlation of both impedance and atrial electrogram amplitude with contact force, though insufficient to be clinically applicable. Conclusion: A high proportion of annular catheter applications have low contact force despite being performed with long vascular sheaths in the hands of experienced operators. In addition, there was no impact of operator perceived contact force on actual measured contact force. This may carry implications for success of AP ablation.
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- Accessory pathway
- Contact force
- Mitral annulus
- Tricuspid annulus