Heart, Lung and Circulation

Deep Vein Thrombosis is Common After Cardiac Ablation and Pre-Procedural D-Dimer Could Predict Risk

Published:March 14, 2022DOI:


      Cardiac catheter ablations are an established treatment for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) involving prolonged cannulation of the common femoral vein with multiple catheters. This study aimed to identify the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) by studying the frequency of this complication after catheter ablation.


      This was a prospective multi-centre cohort study of patients undergoing cardiac ablation for atrioventricular nodal re-entry tachycardia or right-sided accessory atrioventricular connection. Those taking anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy prior to the procedure were excluded. Following the procedure, bilateral venous duplex ultrasonography from the popliteal vein to the inferior vena cava for DVT was undertaken at 24 hours and between 10 to 14 days.


      Eighty (80) patients (mean age 47.6 yrs [SD 13.4] with 67% female) underwent cardiac ablation (median duration 70 mins). Seven (7) patients developed acute DVT in either the femoral or external iliac vein of the intervention leg, giving a frequency of 8.8% (95% CI 3.6–17.2%). No thrombus was seen in the contralateral leg (p=0.023). An elevated D-dimer prior to the procedure was significantly more frequent in patients developing DVT (42.9% vs 4.1%, p=0.0081; OR 17.0). No other patient or procedural characteristics significantly influenced the risk of DVT.


      In patients without peri-procedural anticoagulation catheter ablation precipitated DVT in the catheterised femoral or iliac veins in 8.8% of patients. Peri-procedure prophylactic anticoagulation may be considered for all patients undergoing catheter ablation for SVT.

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