Long-Term Functional and Neurocognitive Recovery in Patients Who Had an Acute Cerebrovascular Event Secondary to Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation


  • Preliminary results were presented at the 2007 Heart Rhythm Conference.

Address for correspondence: Andrea Natale, M.D., Texas Arrhythmia Institute, St. David's Medical Center, Austin, Texas. Fax: 512-544-8184; E-mail: dr.natale@gmail.com


PVAI and Stroke. Introduction: Cerebral thromboembolic event (CTE) is a possible complication of pulmonary vein antrum isolation (PVAI). The objective of this study was to report long-term functional and neurocognitive recovery in patients who had a CTE during or within 48 hours of catheter ablation.

Methods and Results: We screened 3,060 patients who underwent PVAI between January 2000 and June 2007. Out the 3,060 patients, 26 patients (0.8%) (61 ± 8 years, 88% males) had a CTE during or within 48 hours of the procedure. We followed these 26 patients (study group) over time and assessed their functional and neurocognitive recovery status. No preferential vascular territory for the site of obstruction was found; right anterior circulation-5 patients (26%), left anterior circulation-5 patients (26%), posterior circulation-3 patients (16%), and 2 or more territories-6 patients (32%), (P-value = 0.8). The average international normalized ratio at the time of CTE was 1.33 ± 0.4. Two patients died during the study period. At the end of 38.4 ± 24 months follow-up, most surviving patients had complete neurocognitive and functional recovery irrespective of the severity of periprocedural stroke.

Conclusions: Periprocedural stroke in the setting of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation is relatively rare. When it occurs, complete functional and neurocognitive recovery over time is the likely outcome for most patients. (J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 21, pp. 412–417, April 2010)