Long-Term Outcome After Successful Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

W. S Tzou, F. E Marchlinski, E. S Zado, D Lin, S Dixit, D. J Callans, J. M Cooper, R Bala, F Garcia, M. D Hutchinson, M. P Riley, R Verdino and E. P. Gerstenfeld

Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, 2010, 3(3), 237-242. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCEP.109.923771



Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is increasingly used for treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), but few reports exist regarding long-term success. We determined 5-year outcomes of PVI among patients with freedom from AF off antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD) for 1 year after PVI.

Methods and Results—

Consecutive patients with paroxysmal or persistent AF who underwent PVI at the University of Pennsylvania from 2000 to 2003 and were free from AF 1 year after ablation were included. Proximal isolation of PVs and non-PV triggers of AF was performed. Long-term ablation success, defined as freedom from AF off AAD after a single ablation procedure, was determined. All patients had transtelephonic monitoring at 3 to 6 months and 12 months and at least yearly contact thereafter. One hundred twenty-three patients were free of AF without AAD at 1 year. AF freedom off AAD was 85% at 3 years and 71% at 5 years, with an approximate 7% per year late recurrence rate after the first year. Patients with recurrent AF ≥5 years after index PVI were older, had larger left atrial size, more AF triggers and more likely had persistent AF. In multivariate analysis, persistent AF (odds ratio, 2.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 5.7, P=0.005) and age (odds ratio, 1.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.0 to 1.1, P=0.036) independently predicted long-term AF recurrence.


Among patients with paroxysmal or persistent AF and AF freedom 1 year after segmental PVI, the majority (71%) remained free of AF for up to 5 years, with an approximate late recurrence rate of 7% per year. Continued vigilance for recurrent AF after PV isolation is warranted, particularly in patients with persistent AF.

ASCI-ID: 1435-111