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BACKGROUND - This report describes the complication of pulmonary vein stenosis with resultant severe pulmonary hypertension that developed in 2 patients after successful catheter ablation of chronic atrial fibrillation.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Three months after successful catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation, both patients developed progressive dyspnea and pulmonary hypertension. Both were found to have severe stenosis of all 4 pulmonary veins near the junction with the left atrium. Balloon dilation of the stenotic pulmonary veins was performed in these patients, with improvement in dyspnea and pulmonary hypertension.
CONCLUSIONS - The complication of pulmonary vein stenosis is potentially life-threatening, and the application of radiofrequency current within the pulmonary veins with standard catheter technology should be avoided. This complication can be treated with balloon dilation, although the long-term course is unknown.