European multicentre experience of staged hybrid atrial fibrillation ablation for the treatment of persistent and longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation.
ABSTRACT: The management of non-paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) remains controversial. We examined the efficacy and safety of the 2 stage Hybrid AF ablation approach by analysing the largest series of this technique reported so far. Methods:The approach aims to electrically isolate the left atrial posterior wall incorporating the pulmonary veins ('box-set'pattern). An initial video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) epicardial ablation is followed after a minimum of 8 weeks by endocardial radiofrequency catheter ablation. Results:Of 175 patients from 4 European cardiothoracic centers, who underwent the surgical (COBRA Fusion, AtriCure Inc) 1st stage ablation, 166 went on to complete 2nd stage catheter ablation. At median follow up of 18 months post 2nd stage procedure 93/166 (56%) had remained free of AF or atrial tachycardia (AT) recurrence off antiarrhythmic drugs. 110/175 62.9% were in sinus rhythm off all antiarrhythmic drugs at last clinic follow-up (132/175 75.4% including those on antiarrhythmic drugs). 18 patients (10.8%) underwent a further re-do ablation (mean of 1.1 ablations per patient) 105/166 (63%) remained free of AF/AT recurrence off antiarrhythmic drugs following last ablation procedure.Latterly, ILRs have been implanted in patients (n = 56); 60% have remained fully arrhythmia free and 80% have shown AF burden < 5% at a median 14 months follow-up [IQR: 13.5 (8-21.5)]. Only 10.9% have reverted to persistent AF. 5 patients (2.9%) had a perioperative stroke and 4 patients (2.3%) exhibited persistent weakness of the right hemidiaphragm following stage 1 VATS epicardial ablation. One patient died following stroke (overall mortality 0.6%). Conclusions:In patients with non-paroxysmal AF with unfavourable characteristics for catheter ablation, the staged hybrid approach results in acceptable levels of freedom from recurrent atrial arrhythmia, however, complication rates are higher than with catheter ablation alone.
Project description:The use of catheter ablation to treat AF is increasing rapidly, but there is presently an incomplete understanding of its cost-effectiveness. AF ablation procedures involve significant up-front expenditures, but multiple randomized trials have demonstrated that ablation is more effective than antiarrhythmic drugs at maintaining sinus rhythm in a second-line and possibly first-line rhythm control setting. Although truly long-term data are limited, ablation, as compared with antiarrrhythmic drugs, also appears associated with improved symptoms and quality of life and a reduction in downstream hospitalization and other health care resource utilization. Several groups have developed cost effectiveness models comparing AF ablation primarily to antiarrhythmic drugs and the model results suggest that ablation likely falls within the range generally accepted as cost-effective in developed nations. This paper will review available information on the cost-effectiveness of catheter ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, and discuss continued areas of uncertainty where further research is required.
Project description:Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice, which is associated with substantial risk of stroke and thromboembolism. As an arrhythmia that is particularly common in the elderly, it is an important contributor towards morbidity and mortality. Ventricular rate control has been a preferred and therapeutically convenient treatment strategy for the management of AF. Recent research in the field of rhythm control has led to the advent of newer antiarrhythmic drugs and catheter ablation techniques as newer therapeutic options. Currently available antiarrhythmic drugs still remain limited by their suboptimal efficacy and significant adverse effects. Catheter ablation as a newer modality to achieve sinus rhythm (SR) continues to evolve, but data on long-term outcomes on its efficacy and mortality outcomes are not yet available. Despite these current developments, rate control continues to be the front-line treatment strategy, especially in older and minimally symptomatic patients who might not tolerate the antiarrhythmic drug treatment. This review article discusses the current evidence and recommendations for ventricular rate control in the management of AF. We also highlight the considerations for rhythm control strategy in the management of patients of AF.
Project description:BACKGROUND:A novel stochastic trajectory analysis of ranked signals (STAR) mapping approach to guide atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation using basket catheters recently showed high rates of AF termination and subsequent freedom from AF. METHODS:This study aimed to determine whether STAR mapping using sequential recordings from conventional pulmonary vein mapping catheters could achieve similar results. Patients with persistent AF<2 years were included. Following pulmonary vein isolation AF drivers (AFDs) were identified on sequential STAR maps created with PentaRay, IntellaMap Orion, or Advisor HD Grid catheters. Patients had a minimum of 10 multipolar recordings of 30 seconds each. These were processed in real-time and AFDs were targeted with ablation. An ablation response was defined as AF termination or cycle length slowing ?30 ms. RESULTS:Thirty patients were included (62.4±7.8 years old, AF duration 14.1±4.3 months) of which 3 had AF terminated on pulmonary vein isolation, leaving 27 patients that underwent STAR-guided AFD ablation. Eighty-three potential AFDs were identified (3.1±1.1 per patient) of which 70 were targeted with ablation (2.6±1.2 per patient). An ablation response was seen at 54 AFDs (77.1% of AFDs; 21 AF termination and 33 cycle length slowing) and occurred in all 27 patients. No complications occurred. At 17.3±10.1 months, 22 out of 27 (81.5%) patients undergoing STAR-guided ablation were free from AF/atrial tachycardia off antiarrhythmic drugs. CONCLUSIONS:STAR-guided AFD ablation through sequential mapping with a multipolar catheter effectively achieved an ablation response in all patients. AF terminated in a majority of patients, with a high freedom from AF/atrial tachycardia off antiarrhythmic drugs at long-term follow-up. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02950844.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Combined 'hybrid' thoracoscopic and percutaneous atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation is a strategy used to treat AF in patients with therapy-resistant symptomatic AF. We aimed to study efficacy and safety of single-stage hybrid AF ablation in patients with symptomatic persistent AF, or paroxysmal AF with failed endocardial ablation, and assess determinants of success and quality of life. METHODS:We included consecutive patients undergoing single-stage hybrid AF ablation. First, we performed epicardial ablation, via thoracoscopic access, to isolate the pulmonary veins and superior caval vein and to create a posterior left atrial box. Thereafter, isolation was assessed endocardially and complementary endocardial ablation was performed, followed by cavotricuspid isthmus ablation. Efficacy was assessed by 12-lead electrocardiography and 72-hour Holter monitoring after 3, 6 and 12 months. Recurrence was defined as AF/atrial flutter/tachycardia recorded by electrocardiography or Holter monitoring lasting >30 s during 1‑year follow-up. RESULTS:Fifty patients were included, 57 ± 9 years, 38 (76%) men, 5 (10%) paroxysmal, 34 (68%) persistent and 11 (22%) long-standing persistent AF. At 1‑year 38 (76%) maintained sinus rhythm off antiarrhythmic drugs. Majority of recurrences were atrial flutter (9/12 patients). Success was associated with type of AF (p = 0.039). Patients with paroxysmal AF had highest success, patients with longstanding persistent AF had lowest success. Seven (14%) patients had procedure-related complications. Quality of life improved after ablation in patients who maintained sinus rhythm. CONCLUSION:Success of single-stage hybrid AF ablation was 76% off antiarrhythmic drugs, being associated with type of AF. Quality of life improved significantly, Procedure-related complications occurred in 14%.
Project description:OPINION STATEMENT:Atrial fibrillation (AF) remains a major risk factor for stroke. Unfortunately, clinical trials have failed to demonstrate that a strategy of rhythm control--therapy to maintain normal sinus rhythm (NSR)--reduces stroke risk. The apparent lack of benefit of rhythm control likely reflects the difficulty in maintaining NSR using currently available therapies. However, there are signals from several trials that the presence of NSR is indeed beneficial and associated with better outcomes related to stroke and mortality. Most electrophysiologists feel that as rhythm control strategies continue to improve, the crucial link between rhythm control and stroke reduction will finally be demonstrated. Therefore, AF specialists tend to be aggressive in their attempts to maintain NSR, especially in patients who have symptomatic AF. A step-wise approach from antiarrhythmic drugs to catheter ablation to cardiac surgery is generally used. In select patients, catheter ablation or cardiac surgery may supersede antiarrhythmic drugs. The choice depends on the type of AF, concurrent heart disease, drug toxicity profiles, procedural risks, and patient preferences. Regardless of strategy, given the limited effectiveness of currently available rhythm control therapies, oral anticoagulation is still recommended for stroke prophylaxis in AF patients with other stroke risk factors. Major challenges in atrial fibrillation management include selecting patients most likely to benefit from rhythm control, choosing specific antiarrhythmic drugs or procedures to achieve rhythm control, long-term monitoring to gauge the efficacy of rhythm control, and determining which (if any) patients may safely discontinue anticoagulation if long-term NSR is achieved.
Project description:In patients with longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation (AF), outcomes from catheter ablation remain suboptimal. The convergent procedure combines minimally invasive surgical ablation with subsequent catheter ablation, and may contribute towards maintenance of sinus rhythm in this patient group. We performed the convergent procedure on 43 patients with longstanding persistent AF from 2013-2018. Patients underwent clinical review at 3, 6, and 12 months and thereafter as necessitated by their symptoms. Our dataset describes patients' baseline characteristics and rhythm control protocols, as well as outcomes including arrhythmia recurrence, the need for antiarrhythmic drugs, requirement for repeat rhythm control procedures, and complications. These data provide a real world insight into the risks and benefits of the convergent procedure in patients with longstanding persistent AF.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Success rates with conventional transvenous endocardial pulmonary vein isolation in patients with persistent and longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) are variable due to advanced electrical and structural remodeling of the atria. As a consequence, more extensive endocardial lesions, minimally invasive thoracoscopic surgical techniques, and hybrid ablation (combining thoracoscopic epicardial surgical and endocardial catheter ablation) have been developed. HYPOTHESIS:The HARTCAP-AF trial hypothesizes that hybrid AF ablation is more effective than (repeated) transvenous endocardial catheter ablation in (longstanding) persistent AF, without increasing the number of associated major adverse events. METHODS:This randomized controlled trial will include 40 patients with persistent or longstanding persistent AF who will be 1:1 randomized to either hybrid ablation or (repeated) catheter ablation. The procedures and follow-up are conducted according to the guidelines. The primary effectiveness endpoint is freedom from any supraventricular arrhythmia lasting longer than 5?min without the use of Vaughan-Williams class I or III antiarrhythmic drugs through 12?months of follow-up after the last procedure. In the catheter ablation arm, a second procedure planned within 6?months after the index procedure is allowed for obtaining the primary endpoint. Additionally, adverse events, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life data will be recorded. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02441738 . Registered on 12 May 2015.
Project description:Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke and is associated with increased risk of death. Randomized studies suggest improved quality of life for patients with AF after successful catheter ablation compared to antiarrhythmic drug therapy. The value of ablation in long-term risk of ischemic stroke, however, has not been assessed. We conducted a meta-analysis to determine whether AF ablation reduces the long-term risk of stroke compared to antiarrhythmic drug therapy in randomized controlled trials.PubMed and the Cochrane Central Register were searched for randomized trials from January 1990 to December 2014 comparing AF catheter ablation to drug therapy. The results are reported as risk differences (RDs) and 95% CI. Thirteen trials were analyzed with 1097 patients treated by catheter ablation and 855 patients received antiarrhythmic drug therapy. Overall, seven patients (0.64%) in the catheter ablation group had ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attacks vs. two patients (0.23%) in the drug therapy group. No difference was shown in the rate of stroke or transient ischemic attack between ablation and drug therapy (RD: 0.003, 95% CI: -0.006 to 0.012, P = 0.470), and no evidence of heterogeneity was observed (I (2) = 0, P = 0.981). No potential publication bias was found. There was also no difference in mortality between the two groups (RD: -0.004, 95% CI: -0.014 to 0.006, P = 0.472).This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed similar rates of ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack and death in AF patients undergoing catheter ablation compared to drug therapy. A larger prospective randomized trial to confirm this finding is warranted.
Project description:Although pharmacological rhythm control of AF in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) does not seem to provide any benefit over rate control, catheter ablation of AF has been shown to improve clinical outcomes. These results can be explained with higher success rates of catheter ablation in restoring and maintaining sinus rhythm compared with antiarrhythmic drugs. In addition, pharmacotherapy is not void of side-effects, which are thought to offset its potential antiarrhythmic benefits. Therefore, efforts should be made towards optimisation of ablation techniques for AF in patients with HFrEF.
Project description:Purpose:In atrial fibrillation (AF) patients, the effect of catheter ablation or drug therapy on cognition is currently not well investigated. Therefore, we prospectively evaluated AF patients who were either treated 'with drug therapy or underwent catheter ablation for the prevalence and progression of cognitive impairment (CI). Methods:Randomized participants of the CABANA trial (catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drug therapy for atrial fibrillation) and the CASTLE-AF (catheter ablation versus standard conventional treatment in patients with left ventricular dysfunction and atrial fibrillation) study were assessed twice within 6 months by Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in our institution. Results:Forty-five patients from both trials were investigated, and twenty-eight patients received catheter ablation, whereas seventeen patients received drug therapy for rhythm or rate control. The mean age of the twenty-one CABANA trial patients (AF group) was 68.8?±?7.0 years and of the twenty-four CASTLE-AF study patients (AF/HF group) was 66.8?±?8.1 years, respectively. Mean time from ablation/randomization to the first interview was 16.8?±?11 months in the AF group and 28.3?±?18.4 months in the AF/HF group, respectively. All patients investigated were classified as cognitively impaired with mean cutoff scores <24 by MoCA. Overall, we could not detect significant differences in medically treated versus catheter ablation patients within both groups in mean MMSE or MoCA scores between the first and the second interview (p > 0.09). Moreover, patients who received catheter ablation did not show statistically significant differences in the prevalence or progression of cognitive impairment compared to patients who were treated medically, neither within the two groups nor between AF and AF/HF patients (p > 0.05). Conclusions:Prevalence of cognitive impairment in AF patients with comorbidities is substantial. However, in this preliminary prospective study, no apparent impact of AF pretreatment on the prevalence and course of cognitive impairment could be observed.