Long-term Success and Follow-up After Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Author(s): S. Kircher, G. Hindricks, P. Sommer

Journal Name: Current Cardiology Reviews

Volume 8 , Issue 4 , 2012

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent sustained arrhythmia in clinical practice. It is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and has been identified as an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke and thromboembolic events. Catheter ablation has become an established rhythm control therapy in patients with highly symptomatic drug-refractory AF. The definition of ablation success remains controversial since current symptom-based or intermittent electrocardiogram monitoring strategies fail to sufficiently disclose rhythm outcome. This failure is mainly related to the high incidence of asymptomatic AF recurrences, the unpredictable nature of arrhythmia relapses, and the poor correlation of symptoms and AF episodes. There is a clear correlation between the intensity of the monitoring strategy and the sensitivity for it to detect arrhythmia recurrences. Furthermore, several clinical studies assessing the long-term efficacy of catheter ablation procedures have reported late AF recurrences in patients who were initially considered responders to catheter ablation. In certain subsets of patients, precise long-term monitoring may help to guide therapy, e.g. patients in whom withdrawal of antithrombotic therapy may be considered if they are free of arrhythmia recurrences. Recently, subcutaneous implantable cardiac monitors (ICM) have been introduced for prolonged and continuous rhythm monitoring. The performance of a leadless ICM equipped with a dedicated AF detection algorithm has recently been assessed in a clinical trial demonstrating a high sensitivity and overall accuracy for identifying patients with AF. The clinical impact of ICM-based follow-up strategies, however, has to be evaluated in prospective clinical trials.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation, catheter ablation, success rate, asymptomatic recurrences, follow-up strategies, implantable cardiac monitors.

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [354 - 361]
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.2174/157340312803760758
Price: $65

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