• ablation;
  • anterior left atrium;
  • atrial fibrillation;
  • fractionated electrograms

Background: Recent data have shown that the septum and anterior left atrial (LA) wall may contain “rotor” sites required for AF maintenance. However, whether adding ablation of such sites to standard ICE-guided PVAI improves outcome is not well known.

Objective: To determine if adjuvant anterior LA ablation during PVAI improves the cure rate of paroxysmal and permanent AF.

Methods: One hundred AF patients (60 paroxysmal, 40 persistent/permanent) undergoing first-time PVAI were enrolled over three months to receive adjuvant anterior LA ablation (Group I). These patients were compared with 100 randomly selected, matched first-time PVAI controls from the preceding three months who did not receive adjuvant ablation (Group II). All 200 patients underwent ICE-guided PVAI during which all four PV antra and SVC were isolated. In group I, a decapolar lasso catheter was used to map the septum and anterior LA wall during AF (induced or spontaneous) for continuous high-frequency, fractionated electrograms (CFAE). Sites where CFAE were identified were ablated until the local EGM was eliminated. A complete anterior line of block was not a requisite endpoint. Patients were followed up for 12 months. Recurrence was assessed post-PVAI by symptoms, clinic visits, and Holter at 3, 6, and 12 months. Patients also wore rhythm transmitters for the first 3 months. Recurrence was any AF/AFL >1 min occurring >2 months post-PVAI.

Results: Patients (age 56 ± 11 years, 37% female, EF 53%± 11%) did not differ in baseline characteristics between group I and II by design. Group I patients had longer procedure time (188 ± 45 min vs 162 ± 37 min) and RF duration (57 ± 12 min vs 44 ± 20 min) than group II (P < 0.05 for both). Overall recurrence occurred in 15/100 (15%) in group I and 20/100 (20%) in group II (P = 0.054). Success rates did not differ for paroxysmal patients between group I and II (87% vs 85%, respectively). However, for persistent/permanent patients, group I had a higher success rate compared with group II (82% vs 72%, P = 0.047).

Conclusions: Adjuvant anterior LA ablation does not appear to impact procedural outcome in patients with paroxysmal AF but may offer benefit to patients with persistent/permanent AF.