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The Effect of Antiarrhythmic Medication Management on Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Outcomes


  • Dr. Chilukuri was supported by The Norbert and Louise Grunwald Cardiac Arrhythmia Research Fund; she participated on a research grant funded by Biosense Webster. Dr. Calkins has been a consultant to Ablation Frontiers and Biosense Webster and received honoraria relevant to this topic. Other authors: No disclosures.

Address for correspondence: Charles A. Henrikson, M.D., Knight Cardiovascular Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, UHN-62, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA. Fax: 503-494-8550; E-mail:

The Effect of Antiarrhythmic Drugs Ablation Outcomes


Patients commonly present for atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation while taking antiarrhythmic (AA) medications. It is unknown if AA use at the time of ablation affects procedural outcome. This study compares the AF ablation outcomes of patients who underwent ablation while on AA medications to those who were not on AA medications.

Methods and Results

A total of 180 consecutive patients who underwent their first catheter ablation of AF were identified from the Johns Hopkins Hospital AF registry and divided into 2 cohorts: those On AA at the time of ablation (127 patients, mean follow-up 24.6 months) and those Off AA at the time of ablation (53 patients, mean follow-up 20.3 months). Follow-up was performed to identify recurrent AF. There was no statistically significant difference in the percentage of patients without a recurrence of symptomatic AF (single procedure success rate) in the On and Off AA groups at 6 months postablation (53.5% vs 50.1%, P = 0.75), or by the end of follow-up (37.8% vs 41.5%, P = 0.64). For those patients who had symptomatic AF recurrence, the average time to recurrence was 6.2 ± 9.0 months in the On AA group and 4.2 ± 7.2 months in the Off AA group (P = 0.27).


There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of symptomatic AF recurrence between the On AA and Off AA groups in this study. The use of AA medications at the time of ablation does not appear to affect procedural outcomes in this population.