Persistence of Pulmonary Vein Isolation After Robotic Remote-Navigated Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation and its Relation to Clinical Outcome


  • This manuscript was processed by a guest editor.

  • Dr. T.V. Salukhe is supported by the British Heart Foundation.

  • No disclosures.

Address for correspondence: Stephan Willems, M.D., Department of Electrophysiology, University Heart Center, University Hospital Eppendorf, Martinistreet 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany. Fax: +49 40 7410 54125; E-mail:


Robotic Remote Ablation for AFAims: A robotic navigation system (RNS, Hansen™) has been developed as an alternative method of performing ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF). Despite the growing application of RNS-guided pulmonary vein isolation (PVI), its consequences and mechanisms of subsequent AF recurrences are unknown. We investigated the acute procedural success and persistence of PVI over time after robotic PVI and its relation to clinical outcome.

Methods and Results: Sixty-four patients (60.7 ± 9.8 years, 53 male) with paroxysmal AF underwent robotic circumferential PVI with 3-dimensional left atrial reconstruction (NavX™). A voluntary repeat invasive electrophysiological study was performed 3 months after ablation irrespective of clinical course. Robotic PVI was successful in all patients without complication (fluoroscopy time: 23.5 [12–34], procedure time: 180 [150–225] minutes). Fluoroscopy time demonstrated a gradual decline but was significantly reduced after the 30th patient following the introduction of additional navigation software (34 [29–45] vs 12 [9–17] minutes; P < 0.001). A repeat study at 3 months was performed in 63% of patients and revealed electrical conduction recovery in 43% of all PVs. Restudied patients without AF recurrence (n = 28) showed a significantly lower number of recovered PVs (1 (0–2) vs 2 (2–3); P = 0.006) and a longer LA-PV conduction delay than patients with AF recurrences (n = 12). Persistent block of all PVs was associated with freedom from AF in all patients. At 3 months, 67% of patients were free of AF, while reablation of recovered PVs led to an overall freedom from AF in 81% of patients after 1 year.

Conclusion: Robotic PVI for PAF is safe, effective, and requires limited fluoroscopy while yielding comparable success rates to conventional ablation approaches with PV reconduction as a common phenomenon associated with AF recurrences. (J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 21, pp. 1079-1084)