• atrial fibrillation;
  • radiofrequency ablation;
  • stroke

Background and purpose:  Radiofrequency-catheter-ablation of atrial fibrillation is now commonly performed. Aim of this short review is to summarize questions and uncertainties concerning radiofrequency ablation of atrial fibrillation with respect to therapeutic mechanisms, long-term efficacy and stroke-prevention.

Results:  The majority of atrial fibrillation patients is too old for radiofrequency ablation. Candidates for radiofrequency ablation belong to a subgroup with a low embolic risk. The radiofrequency ablation procedure itself may increase the embolic risk, and at present it is uncertain how long this embolic risk persists after the procedure.

Conclusion:  We doubt if radiofrequency ablation prevents embolism in atrial fibrillation.