Long-Term Outcome of AF Ablation. Introduction: Ablation eliminates atrial fibrillation (AF) in studies with 1 year follow-up, but very late recurrences may compromise long-term efficacy. In a large cohort, we sought to describe the determinants of delayed recurrence after AF ablation.
Methods and Results: Seven hundred and seventy-four patients with AF (428 paroxysmal [PAF, 55%] and 346 persistent or longstanding persistent [PersAF, 45%]) underwent wide area circumferential ablation (WACA, 62%) or pulmonary vein isolation (38%). Over 3.0 ± 1.9 years, there were 135 recurrences in PAF patients and 142 in PersAF patients. AF elimination was achieved in 61% of patients with PersAF at 2 years after last ablation and in 71% of patients with PAF (P = 0.04). This finding was related to a higher initial rate of very late recurrence in PersAF. From 1.0 to 2.5 years, the recurrence increased by 20% (from 37% to 57%) in PersAF patients versus only 12% (from 27% to 39%) in PAF patients. Independent predictors of overall recurrence included diabetes (HR 1.9 [1.3–2.9], P = 0.002) and PersAF (HR 1.6 [1.2–2.0], P < 0.001). Independent predictors of very late recurrence included PersAF (HR 1.7 [1.1–2.7], P = 0.018) and WACA (HR 1.8 [1.1–2.7], P = 0.018), while diabetes came close to significance. In PAF patients, left atrial size >45 mm was identified as an AF-type specific predictor (HR 2.4 [1.3–4.7], P = 0.009), whereas in PersAF patients, no unique predictors were identified.
Conclusion: Late recurrences reduced the long-term efficacy of AF ablation, particularly in patients with PersAF and underlying cardiovascular diseases. (J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 21, pp. 1071-1078)