What Is the Atrioesophageal Fistula?

What is the atrioesophageal fistula?

Atrioesophageal fistula is a curvilinear low attenuation structure communicating between the esophagus and the pulmonary vein. It is one of the side effects or complications of the catheter radiofrequency ablation. It is rare but fatal. It is caused by the massive heating damages to the esophagus and its neighborhood tissues and structures in the ablation process. According to an academic paper on the Cleveland Clinic website, “Without correction, mortality is 100 percent, usually within 24 hours of symptom onset. In this case, the following are very important for atrioesophageal fistula:

  • Be highly suspicious of physical conditions after having the ablation surgery.
  • When symptoms like fever, chest pains, or infections occur, go to the hospital AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
  • Repairing surgery is necessary to save life.

In general, the ablation surgery is safe. But you should consult your doctor to prevent the atrioesophageal fistula from happening.


Key words: atrioesophageal fistula; catheter radiofrequency ablation; fatal.

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