Publications by authors named "Rukshen Weerasooriya"

78 Publications

Association Between Quality of Life and Procedural Outcome After Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 12 1;3(12):e2025473. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Cardiology, Southlake Regional Health Centre, University of Toronto, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

Importance: Catheter ablation is effective in reducing atrial fibrillation (AF), but the association of ablation for AF with quality of life is unclear.

Objective: To evaluate whether the procedural outcome of ablation for AF is associated with quality of life (QOL) measures.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This was a prespecified secondary analysis of the Substrate and Trigger Ablation for Reduction of Atrial Fibrillation-Part II (STAR AF II) prospective randomized clinical trial, which compared 3 strategies for ablation of persistent AF. This analysis included 549 of the 589 patients enrolled in the trial who underwent ablation. Enrollment occurred at 35 centers in Europe, Canada, Australia, China, and Korea from November 2010 to July 2012. Data for the current study were analyzed on December 11, 2019.

Interventions: Patients underwent AF ablation with 1 of 3 ablation strategies: (1) pulmonary vein isolation (PVI), (2) PVI plus complex fractionated electrograms, or (3) PVI plus linear lesions.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Quality of life was assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, and 18 months after ablation for AF using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey and the EuroQol Health-Related Quality of Life 5-Dimension 3-Level questionnaire. Scores were also converted to a physical health component score (PCS) and a mental health component score (MCS). Individual AF burden was calculated by the total time with AF from Holter monitors and the percentage of transtelephonic monitor recordings showing AF.

Results: Among the 549 patients included in this secondary analysis, QOL was assessed in 466 (85%) at baseline and at 6, 12, and 18 months after ablation for AF. The mean (SD) age of the study population was 60 (9) years; 434 (79%) individuals were men, and 417 (76%) had continuous AF for 6 months or more before ablation. The AF burden significantly decreased from a mean (SD) of 82% (36%) before ablation to 6.6% (23%) after ablation (P < .001). Significant improvements in mean (SD) PCS (68.3 [20.7] to 82.5 [18.6]) and MCS (35.3 [8.6] to 37.5 [7.6]) occurred 18 months after ablation (P < .05 for both). Significant QOL improvement occurred in all 3 study arms and regardless of AF recurrence, defined as AF episodes lasting more than 30 seconds: for no recurrence, mean (SD) PCS increased from 66.5 (20.9) to 79.1 (19.4) and MCS from 35.3 (8.7) to 37.7 (7.7); for recurrence, mean (SD) PCS increased from 70.2 (20.4) to 86.4 (16.8) and MCS from 35.3 (8.6) to 37.1 (7.4) (P < .05 for all). When outcome was defined by AF burden reduction, in patients with less than 70% reduction in AF burden, the increase in PCS was significantly less than in those with greater than 70% reduction, and only 3 of 8 subscales showed significant improvement.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this secondary analysis, decreases in AF burden after ablation for AF were significantly associated with improvements in QOL. Quality of life changes were significantly associated with the percentage of AF burden reduction after ablation.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01203748.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25473DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718606PMC
December 2020

Pulmonary Vein Stenosis After Atrial Fibrillation Ablation: Insights From the ADVICE Trial.

Can J Cardiol 2020 12 3;36(12):1965-1974. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Center (MHICC), Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: Pulmonary vein (PV) stenosis is a complication of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. The incidence of PV stenosis after routine post-ablation imaging remains unclear and is limited to single-centre studies. Our objective was to determine the incidence and predictors of PV stenosis following circumferential radiofrequency ablation in the multicentre Adenosine Following Pulmonary Vein Isolation to Target Dormant Conduction Elimination (ADVICE) trial.

Methods: Patients with symptomatic AF underwent circumferential radiofrequency ablation in one of 13 trial centres. Computed tomographic (CTA) or magnetic resonance (MRA) angiography was performed before ablation and 90 days after ablation. Two blinded reviewers measured PV diameters and areas. PVs with stenosis were classified as severe (> 70%), moderate (50%-70%), or mild (< 50%). Predictors of PV stenosis were identified by means of multivariable logistic regression.

Results: A total of 197 patients (median age 59.5 years, 29.4% women) were included in this substudy. PV stenosis was identified in 41 patients (20.8%) and 47 (8.2%) of 573 ablated PVs. PV stenosis was classified as mild in 42 PVs (7.3%) and moderate in 5 PVs (0.9%). No PVs had severe stenosis. Both cross-sectional area and diameter yielded similar classifications for severity of PV stenosis. Diabetes was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of PV stenosis (OR 4.91, 95% CI 1.45-16.66).

Conclusions: In the first systematic multicentre evaluation of post-ablation PV stenosis, no patient acquired severe PV stenosis. Although the results are encouraging for the safety of AF ablation, 20.8% of patients had mild or moderate PV stenosis, in which the long-term effects are unknown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2020.10.013DOI Listing
December 2020

Combined epicardial and endocardial ablation for atrial fibrillation: Best practices and guide to hybrid convergent procedures.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Feb 9;18(2):303-312. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, New York; Department of Cardiology, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, Nutley, New Jersey. Electronic address:

The absence of strategies to consistently and effectively address nonparoxysmal atrial fibrillation by nonpharmacological interventions has represented a long-standing treatment gap. A combined epicardial/endocardial ablation strategy, the hybrid Convergent procedure, was developed in response to this clinical need. A subxiphoid incision is used to access the pericardial space facilitating an epicardial ablation directed at isolation of the posterior wall of the left atrium. This is followed by an endocardial ablation to complete isolation of the pulmonary veins and for additional ablation as needed. Experience gained with the hybrid Convergent procedure during the last decade has led to the development and adoption of strategies to optimize the technique and mitigate risks. Additionally, a surgical and electrophysiology "team" approach including comprehensive training is believed critical to successfully develop the hybrid Convergent program. A recently completed randomized clinical trial indicated that this ablation strategy is superior to an endocardial-only approach for patients with persistent atrial fibrillation. In this review, we propose and describe best practice guidelines for hybrid Convergent ablation on the basis of a combination of published data, author consensus, and expert opinion. A summary of clinical outcomes, emerging evidence, and future perspectives is also given.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.10.004DOI Listing
February 2021

Position Statement on the Management of Cardiac Electrophysiology and Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices in Australia During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Living Document.

Heart Lung Circ 2020 Jun 11;29(6):e57-e68. Epub 2020 May 11.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant stress on health resources in Australia. The Heart Rhythm Council of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand aims to provide a framework for efficient resource utilisation balanced with competing risks when appropriately treating patients with cardiac arrhythmias. This document provides practical recommendations for the electrophysiology (EP) and cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIED) services in Australia. The document will be updated regularly as new evidence and knowledge is gained with time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hlc.2020.04.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7213961PMC
June 2020

Miniaturized implantable cardiac monitor with a long sensing vector (BIOMONITOR III): Insertion procedure assessment, sensing performance, and home monitoring transmission success.

J Electrocardiol 2020 May - Jun;60:118-125. Epub 2020 Apr 11.

Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders, The University of Adelaide and Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Implantable Cardiac Monitors (ICMs) are used for long-term monitoring of arrhythmias. BIOMONITOR III is a novel ICM with a miniaturized profile, long sensing vector due to a flexible antenna, simplified implantation with a dedicated insertion tool for pocket formation and ICM placement in a single step, and daily automatic Home Monitoring (HM) function.

Methods: In 47 patients undergoing BIOMONITOR III insertion for any ICM indication, 16 investigators at 10 Australian sites assessed handling characteristics of the insertion tool, R-wave amplitudes, noise burden, P-wave visibility, and HM transmission success. Patients were followed for 1 month.

Results: All 47 attempted insertions were successful. Median time from skin incision to removal of the insertion tool after ICM insertion was 39 s (IQR 19-65) and to wound closure and cleaning was 4.7 min (IQR 3.5-7.8). All aspects of the insertion tool were rated as "good" or "excellent" in ≥97.9% and "fair" in ≤2.1% of patients, except for "force needed for tunnelling" (91.5% good/excellent, 8.5% fair). Based on HM data, R-waves in the first month were stable at 0.70 ± 0.37 mV. Median noise burden (disabling automatic rhythm evaluation) was 0.19% (IQR 0.00-0.93), equivalent to 2.7 min (IQR 0.0-13.4) per day. In HM-transmitted ECG strips with regular sinus rhythm, P-waves were visible in 89 ± 24% of heart cycles. Patient-individual automatic Home Monitoring transmission success was 98.0% ± 5.5%.

Conclusions: The novel ICM performed well in all aspects studied, including fast insertion, reliable R-wave sensing, good P-wave visibility, and highly successful HM transmissions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2020.04.004DOI Listing
June 2021

Multivariable Analysis of Patients With Severe Persistent Postprocedural Hypotension After Carotid Artery Stenting.

J Endovasc Ther 2019 12 21;26(6):759-767. Epub 2019 Aug 21.

Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia.

To assess the incidence and predictors of severe, persistent postprocedural hypotension (PPH) after carotid artery stenting (CAS). A total of 146 patients (mean age 72.8 years; 104 men) who underwent 160 CAS procedures using a standardized protocol at 3 vascular centers were retrospectively analyzed. The primary endpoint was postprocedural hypotension, defined as a reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) >40 mm Hg from baseline or an SBP of <90 mm Hg sustained for >1 hour after CAS. Potential prognostic factors for postprocedural hypotension were identified and subjected to logistic regression analyses; outcomes are presented as the odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). PPH developed in 36 (24.7%) patients after 37 (23.1%) CAS procedures. These patients had significantly longer intensive care unit and hospital stays than those who did not develop hypotension (p<0.001). PPH was associated with severe lesion calcification (OR 6.28, 95% CI 1.81 to 21.98, p=0.004) and contrast volume (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.02, p<0.001). A 4-fold increase in the risk of PPH (OR 4.22, 95% CI 1.38 to 13.33, p=0.012) was found between the embolic protection device most associated with PPH (Angioguard) and the device least associated with PPH (Emboshield NAV6). A similar trend was also observed for the Precise vs Xact stents (OR 6, 95% CI 2.08 to 17.6, p=0.001). Bootstrapped multivariable modeling identified the Precise stent and contrast volume as significant predictors of persistent postprocedural hypotension. Further investigation of the contrast volume revealed associations with sex, severe calcification, arch type, previous coronary artery bypass surgery, and primary stenting, suggesting that the contrast volume reflects the complexity of the procedure. The complexity of the procedure and type of stent may play a role in the development of postprocedural hypotension after CAS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1526602819869929DOI Listing
December 2019

BioMonitor 2 Pilot Study: Early Experience With Implantation of the Biotronik BioMonitor 2 Implantable Cardiac Monitor.

Heart Lung Circ 2018 Dec 6;27(12):1462-1466. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

Hollywood Private Hospital, Perth, WA, Australia; University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.

Background: The BioMonitor 2 Pilot Study assessed the implantation procedure, the sensing amplitude and the remote monitoring transmission success rate of the second generation implantable cardiac monitor, the BioMonitor 2 (Biotronik, Berlin, Germany).

Methods: This was a prospective, multi-centre, single-arm, non-randomised study involving seven operators in five sites across Australia. Data were collected at implantation, during clinic visits at 1 week and 1 month post-implantation, and through wireless remote monitoring.

Results: Thirty patients with indications for long-term cardiac monitoring underwent successful insertion of a study device. The median implantation time was 9 minutes (interquartile range (IQR) 5-14 mins). The mean R-wave amplitude at 1 week was 0.75±0.39mV and remained stable over the follow-up period. Within 1 day, 97% of the patients connected to the remote monitoring network and daily messages were transmitted on 93.8% of all study days. Seventy-six per cent of patients transmitted at least one subcutaneous ECG (sECG), with a median number of sECGs per patient of seven (IQR 3-37) within 28 days.

Conclusions: The results of the BioMonitor 2 Pilot study confirm the excellent sensing amplitudes afforded by this new device and the utility of the implantation tools and technique. Patient compliance with and the transmission success rate of the home monitoring system were excellent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hlc.2017.09.005DOI Listing
December 2018

Contact force sensing for ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation: A randomized, multicenter trial.

Heart Rhythm 2018 02 10;15(2):201-208. Epub 2017 Oct 10.

Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Impact of contact force sensing (CFS) on ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation (PeAF) is unknown.

Objective: The purpose of the TOUCH AF (Therapeutic Outcomes Using Contact force Handling during Ablation of Persistent Atrial Fibrillation) randomized trial was to compare CFS-guided ablation to a CFS-blinded strategy.

Methods: Patients (n = 128) undergoing first-time ablation for persistent AF were randomized to a CFS-guided vs CFS-blinded strategy. In the CFS-guided procedure, operators visualized real-time force data. In the blinded procedure, force data were hidden. Wide antral pulmonary vein isolation plus a roof line were performed. Patients were followed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months with clinical visit, ECG, and 48-hour Holter monitoring. The primary endpoint was cumulative radiofrequency (RF) time for all procedures. Atrial arrhythmia >30 seconds after 3 months was a recurrence.

Results: PeAF was continuous for 26 weeks (interquartile range [IQR] 13-52), and left atrial size was 45 ± 5 mm. Force in the CFS-blinded and CFS-guided arms was 12 g [IQR 6-20] and 14 g [IQR 9-20] (P = .10), respectively. Total RF time did not differ between CFS-guided and CFS-blinded groups (49 ± 14 min vs 50 ± 20 min, respectively; P = .70). Single procedure freedom from atrial arrhythmia was 60% in the CFS-guided arm and 63% in the CFS-blinded arm off drugs. Lesions with gaps were associated with significantly less force (11.4 g [IQR 6-19] vs 13.2 g [IQR 8-20], respectively; P = .0007) and less force-time integral (174 gs [IQR 91-330] vs 210 gs [IQR 113-388], respectively; P <.001).

Conclusion: CFS-guided ablation resulted in no difference to RF time or 12-month outcome. Lower force/force-time integral was associated with significantly more gaps.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.10.010DOI Listing
February 2018

Impact of acute atrial fibrillation termination and prolongation of atrial fibrillation cycle length on the outcome of ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation: A substudy of the STAR AF II trial.

Heart Rhythm 2017 04 21;14(4):476-483. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Controversy exists about the impact of acute atrial fibrillation (AF) termination and prolongation of atrial fibrillation cycle length (AFCL) during ablation on long-term procedural outcome.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of AF termination and AFCL prolongation on freedom from AF in patients from the STAR AF II (Substrate and Trigger Ablation for Reduction of Atrial Fibrillation Trial-Part II) trial.

Methods: Acute changes in AFCL and AF termination were collected during the index procedure of the STAR AF II trial and compared to recurrence of AF at 18 months. Recurrence was assessed by ECG, Holter (3, 6, 9, 12, 18 months), and weekly transtelephonic ECG monitoring for 18 months.

Results: AF terminated in 8% of the pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) arm, 45% in the PVI+complex electrogram arm, and 22% of the PVI+linear ablation arm (P <.001), but freedom from AF did not differ among the 3 groups (P = .15). Freedom from AF was significantly higher in patients who presented to the laboratory in sinus rhythm (SR) compared to those without AF termination (63% vs 44%, P = .007). Patients with AF termination had an intermediate outcome (53%) that was not significantly different from those in SR (P = .84) or those who did not terminate (P = .08). AF termination was a univariable predictor of success (P = .007), but by multivariable analysis, presence of early SR was the strongest predictor of success (hazard ratio 0.67, P = .004). Prolongation of AFCL was not predictive of 18-month freedom from AF.

Conclusion: Acute AF termination and prolongation in AFCL did not consistently predict 18-month freedom from AF. Presence of SR before or early during the ablation was the strongest predictor of better outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2016.12.033DOI Listing
April 2017

A new cryoenergy for ventricular tachycardia ablation: a proof-of-concept study.

Europace 2017 Aug;19(8):1401-1407

Departments of Cardiology and Radiology, Hôpital Haut-l'évêque, CHU Bordeaux, 33604 Bordeaux-Pessac, France.

Introduction: Lack of transmural lesion formation during radiofrequency (RF) ablation for ventricular tachycardia (VT) is an important determinant of arrhythmia recurrence. The aim of this proof-of-concept study was to evaluate safety and efficacy of a new and more powerful cryoablation system for ventricular ablation.

Methods And Results: Five healthy female sheep (59 ± 6 kg) underwent a surgical sternotomy for epicardial and endocardial access [endocardial access via right atrial appendage and left ventricular (LV) apex]. A cryoablation system with liquid nitrogen (IceCure) was used to create 3 min freezes at the right ventricle (RV). Left ventricular cryoablation was performed with either a 6 min or 2 × 4 min freezes. To assess safety, ablation was also performed on the mid left anterior descending artery and the proximal coronary sinus. A total of 45 lesions were created (RV epicardial, n = 12; LV epicardial, n = 18; RV endocardial, n = 7; LV endocardial, n = 8; LAD, n = 4; and CS, n = 4). The mean lesion volume was 5055 ± 92 mm3 (length: 32 ± 4.6 mm, width: 16.0 ± 6.4 mm, and depth: 11.2 ± 4.4 mm). Lesions were transmural in 28/45 (62%) and >10 mm in depth in 35/45 (78%). Of the endocardial lesions, 12/15 were transmural (80%). There was no benefit of the bonus freeze in LV lesions (6 vs. 2 × 4 min: 6790 ± 44 vs. 5595 ± 63 mm3; P = 0.44). All ablated vascular structures appeared macroscopically normal without acute stenosis. One animal died due to incessant Ventricular fibrillation (VF).

Conclusion: Our results indicate that a more powerful cryoablation system is able to create large, transmural ventricular lesions from both the endocardium and the epicardium. The technology may hold potential for both surgical and catheter-based VT ablation in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euw217DOI Listing
August 2017

Redefining the Blanking Period After Catheter Ablation for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: Insights From the ADVICE (Adenosine Following Pulmonary Vein Isolation to Target Dormant Conduction Elimination) Trial.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2016 08;9(8)

For the author affiliations, please see the Appendix.

Background: Early recurrences (ERs) of atrial tachyarrhythmia are common after catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation. A 3-month blanking period is recommended by current guidelines. This study sought to investigate the significance of ER during the first 3 months post ablation in predicting late recurrences and determine whether it varies according to timing.

Methods And Results: A total of 401 patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation undergoing pulmonary vein isolation were followed for 12 months with transtelephonic monitoring in the ADVICE (Adenosine Following Pulmonary Vein Isolation to Target Dormant Conduction Elimination) trial. Patients with atrial tachyarrhythmia ≥30 s within the 3-month blanking period were stratified according to the timing of ER. A total of 179 patients (44.6%) experienced their last episode of ER during the first (n=53), second (n=44), or third (n=82) month of the 3-month blanking period. One-year freedom from symptomatic atrial tachyarrhythmia was 77.2% in patients without ER compared with 62.6%, 36.4%, and 7.8% in patients with ER 1, 2, and 3 months post ablation, respectively (P<0.0001). Receiver operating curve analyses revealed a strong correlation between the timing of ER and late recurrence (area under the curve 0.82, P<0.0001). Corresponding hazard ratios for ER during the first, second, and third months were 1.84, 4.45, and 9.64, respectively.

Conclusions: This study validates the use of a blanking period after catheter ablation for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation but calls into question the 90-day cut-off value. In particular, >90% of patients with ER during the third month post ablation experience late recurrence by 1 year. However, pending further study, repeat ablation before 90 days cannot be routinely advocated.

Clinical Trial Registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01058980.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.115.003909DOI Listing
August 2016

Radiofrequency Ablation Versus Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation: Meta-Analysis of Quality of Life, Morbidity, and Mortality.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2016 Apr 10;2(2):170-180. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Objectives: The aim of this study was to perform a collaborative meta-analysis of published and unpublished quality-of-life, morbidity, and mortality data from randomized controlled trial comparisons of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and antiarrhythmic drug therapy (AAD) in symptomatic atrial fibrillation.

Background: RFA is superior to AAD in decreasing recurrences of atrial fibrillation, but the effects on other clinical outcomes are not well established.

Methods: The primary investigators of eligible randomized controlled trials were invited to contribute standardized outcome data. Random-effects summary estimates were calculated as standardized mean differences and risk ratios with 95% confidence intervals for continuous and binary outcomes, respectively. Fixed effects were used in subgroup analyses.

Results: Twelve randomized controlled trials (n = 1,707 patients) were included. RFA led to greater improvements in 4 36-Item Short Form Health Survey areas and the symptom frequency score from baseline to 3 months. In all quality-of-life metrics, there was a trend toward diminution of the differences between the 2 approaches with follow-up. There were 7 of 866 (5 in a study using phased RFA) and 0 of 704 strokes in the RFA and AAD arms, respectively (p = 0.02, Fisher exact test). Bleeding and mortality events were not significantly different between the 2 arms. There was high heterogeneity for hospitalizations, with decreased hospitalization risk with RFA when it was not first-line therapy (risk ratio: 0.34; 95% confidence interval: 0.24 to 0.46) and increased risk as first-line therapy (risk ratio: 1.22; 95% confidence interval: 1.03 to 1.45).

Conclusions: RFA demonstrates an early but nonsustained superiority over AAD for the improvement of quality of life. There are no obvious differences in other clinical outcomes, and the periprocedural stroke risk is non-negligible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2015.10.003DOI Listing
April 2016

Magnetic resonance imaging-compatible circular mapping catheter: an in vivo feasibility and safety study.

Europace 2017 Mar;19(3):458-464

IHU LIRYC/CRCTB, INSERM U1045, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.

Aims: Interventional cardiac catheter mapping is routinely guided by X-ray fluoroscopy, although radiation exposure remains a significant concern. Feasibility of catheter ablation for common flutter has recently been demonstrated under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance. The benefit of catheter ablation under MRI could be significant for complex arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation (AF), but MRI-compatible multi-electrode catheters such as Lasso have not yet been developed. This study aimed at demonstrating the feasibility and safety of using a multi-electrode catheter [magnetic resonance (MR)-compatible Lasso] during MRI for cardiac mapping. We also aimed at measuring the level of interference between MR and electrophysiological (EP) systems.

Methods And Results: Experiments were performed in vivo in sheep (N = 5) using a multi-electrode, circular, steerable, MR-compatible diagnostic catheter. The most common MRI sequences (1.5T) relevant for cardiac examination were run with the catheter positioned in the right atrium. High-quality electrograms were recorded while imaging with a maximal signal-to-noise ratio (peak-to-peak signal amplitude/peak-to-peak noise amplitude) ranging from 5.8 to 165. Importantly, MRI image quality was unchanged. Artefacts induced by MRI sequences during mapping were demonstrated to be compatible with clinical use. Phantom data demonstrated that this 10-pole circular catheter can be used safely with a maximum of 4°C increase in temperature.

Conclusions: This new MR-compatible 10-pole catheter appears to be safe and effective. Combining MR and multipolar EP in a single session offers the possibility to correlate substrate information (scar, fibrosis) and EP mapping as well as online monitoring of lesion formation and electrical endpoint.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euw006DOI Listing
March 2017

Accurate modeling and positioning of a magnetically controlled catheter tip.

Med Phys 2016 Feb;43(2):650-63

Point Place Ltd., Mosman Park, WA 6012, Australia.

Purpose: This paper represents the initial phase of a proposed operator-friendly semiautomatic method for positioning and directing an intravascular three-magnet tip catheter in the human heart using an electromagnetic system.

Methods: A predictive computer algorithm based on a comprehensive mathematical model is developed, which accurately calculates the magnetic field generated by the electromagnet system as well as the magnetic torques and forces exerted on a three-magnet tip catheter, and generates the necessary electromagnet currents for arbitrary displacement and deflection of the catheter tip within a workspace of 128 × 128 × 128 mm.

Results: We demonstrate the ability of the developed mathematical model to accurately position a three-magnet tip catheter within the 128 × 128 × 128 mm workspace of a 3D eight-electromagnet system.

Conclusions: The ability of the developed mathematical model in predicting the displacement, direction, and deflection of the catheter tip as a function of the electromagnet current values has been verified through experimental results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4939228DOI Listing
February 2016

Trends in incidence and prevalence of hospitalization for atrial fibrillation and associated mortality in Western Australia, 1995-2010.

Int J Cardiol 2016 Apr 28;208:19-25. Epub 2016 Jan 28.

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia.

Objective: Hospitalization for atrial fibrillation (AF) is a large and growing public health problem. We examined current trends in the incidence, prevalence, and associated mortality of first-ever hospitalization for AF.

Methods: Linked hospital admission data were used to identify all Western Australia residents aged 35-84 years with prevalent AF and incident (first-ever) hospitalization for AF as a principal or secondary diagnosis during 1995-2010.

Results: There were 57,552 incident hospitalizations, mean age 69.8 years, with 41.4% women. Over the calendar periods, age- and sex-standardized incidence of hospitalization for AF as any diagnosis declined annually by 1.1% (95% CI; 0.93, 1.29), while incident AF as a principal diagnosis increased annually by 1.2% (95% CI; 0.84, 1.50). Incident AF hospitalization was higher among men than women, and 15-fold higher in the 75-84 compared with 35-64 year age group. The age- and sex-standardized prevalence of AF increased annually by 2.0% (95% CI; 1.88, 2.03) over the same period. Comorbidity trends were mixed with diabetes and valvular heart disease increasing, and hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease decreasing. The 1-year all-cause mortality after incident AF hospitalization declined from 17.6% to 14.6% (trend P<0.001), with an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.86 (95% CI; 0.81, 0.91).

Conclusion: This contemporary study shows that incident AF hospitalization is not increasing except for AF as a principal diagnosis, while population prevalence of hospitalized AF has risen substantially. The high 1-year mortality following incident AF hospitalization has improved only modestly over the recent period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.01.196DOI Listing
April 2016

Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation in patients with diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Europace 2015 Oct;17(10):1518-25

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medical Sciences, Città Della Salute e Della Scienza Hospital, University of Turin, Corso Dogliotti 24, Torino 10126, Italy

Aims: Diabetes mellitus (DM) and atrial fibrillation (AF) share pathophysiological links, as supported by the high prevalence of AF within DM patients. Catheter ablation of AF (AFCA) is an established therapeutic option for rhythm control in drug resistant symptomatic patients. Its efficacy and safety among patients with DM is based on small populations, and long-term outcome is unknown. The present systematic review and meta-analysis aims to assess safety and long-term outcome of AFCA in DM patients, focusing on predictors of recurrence.

Methods And Results: A systematic review was conducted in MEDLINE/PubMed and Cochrane Library. Randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, and observational studies including patients with DM undergoing AFCA were screened and included if matching inclusion and exclusion criteria. Fifteen studies were included, adding up to 1464 patients. Mean follow-up was 27 (20-33) months. Overall complication rate was 3.5 (1.5-5.0)%. Efficacy in maintaining sinus rhythm at follow-up end was 66 (58-73)%. Meta-regression analysis revealed that advanced age (P < 0.001), higher body mass index (P < 0.001), and higher basal glycated haemoglobin level (P < 0.001) related to higher incidence of arrhythmic recurrences. Performing AFCA lead to a reduction of patients requiring treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) from 55 (46-74)% at baseline to 29 (17-41)% (P < 0.001) at follow-up end.

Conclusions: Catheter ablation of AF safety and efficacy in DM patients is similar to general population, especially when performed in younger patients with satisfactory glycemic control. Catheter ablation of AF reduces the amount of patients requiring AADs, an additional benefit in this population commonly exposed to adverse effects of AF pharmacological treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euv214DOI Listing
October 2015

Irrigated Needle Ablation Creates Larger and More Transmural Ventricular Lesions Compared With Standard Unipolar Ablation in an Ovine Model.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2015 Dec 10;8(6):1498-506. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

From the Department of Cardiology and Radiology, Hôpital Haut-l'évêque, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France (B.B., H.C., X.P., F.C., S.Y., S.M., N.D., M. Hocini, M. Haïssaguerre, F.S., P.J.); LIRYC Institute, Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU), Bordeaux, France (B.B., H.C., J.M., J.N., M. Hocini, B.Q., O.B., M. Haïssaguerre, F.S., P.J.); Biosense Webster, Research and Development Department, Palo Alto, CA (D.G.); and Department of Cardiology, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia (R.W.).

Background: Ventricular tachycardia recurrence can occur after ventricular tachycardia ablation because of incomplete and nontransmural ventricular lesion formation. We sought to compare the lesions made by a novel irrigated needle catheter to conventional radiofrequency lesions.

Methods And Results: Thirteen female sheep (4.6±0.7 years, 54±8 kg) were studied. In 7 sheep, 60-s radiofrequency applications were performed using an irrigated needle catheter. In 6 sheep, conventional lesions were made using a 4-mm irrigated catheter. 1.5T in vivo and high-density magnetic resonance imaging (9.4T) were performed on explanted hearts from animals receiving needle radiofrequency. Conventional lesion volume was calculated as (1/6)×π×(A×B(2)+C×D(2)/2). Needle lesion volume was measured as Σ(π×r(2))/2 with a slice thickness of 1 mm. The dimensions of all lesions were also measured on gross pathology. Additional histological analysis of the needle lesions was performed. One hundred twenty endocardial left ventricular ablation lesions (conventional, n=60; needle, n=60) were created. At necropsy, more lesions were found using needle versus conventional radiofrequency (90% versus 75%; P<0.05). Comparing needle versus conventional radiofrequency: lesion volume was larger (1030±362 versus 488±384 mm(3); P<0.001), lesion depth was increased (9.9±2.7 versus 5±2.4 mm; P<0.001), and more transmural lesions were created (62.5% versus 17%; P<0.01). Pericardial contrast injection was observed in 4 apical attempts using needle radiofrequency, however, with no adverse effects. Steam pops occurred in 3 attempts using conventional radiofrequency.

Conclusions: Irrigated needle ablation is associated with more frequent, larger, deeper, and more often transmural lesions compared with conventional irrigated ablation. This technology might be of value to treat intramural or epicardial ventricular tachycardia substrates resistant to conventional ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.115.002963DOI Listing
December 2015

Adenosine-guided pulmonary vein isolation for the treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: an international, multicentre, randomised superiority trial.

Lancet 2015 Aug 23;386(9994):672-9. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

Montreal Heart Institute and Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Centre, Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Background: Catheter ablation is increasingly used to manage atrial fibrillation, but arrhythmia recurrences are common. Adenosine might identify pulmonary veins at risk of reconnection by unmasking dormant conduction, and thereby guide additional ablation to improve arrhythmia-free survival. We assessed whether adenosine-guided pulmonary vein isolation could prevent arrhythmia recurrence in patients undergoing radiofrequency catheter ablation for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

Methods: We did this randomised trial at 18 hospitals in Australia, Europe, and North America. We enrolled patients aged older than 18 years who had had at least three symptomatic atrial fibrillation episodes in the past 6 months, and for whom treatment with an antiarrhythmic drug failed. After pulmonary vein isolation, intravenous adenosine was administered. If dormant conduction was present, patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to additional adenosine-guided ablation to abolish dormant conduction or to no further ablation. If no dormant conduction was revealed, randomly selected patients were included in a registry. Patients were masked to treatment allocation and outcomes were assessed by a masked adjudicating committee. Patients were followed up for 1 year. The primary outcome was time to symptomatic atrial tachyarrhythmia after a single procedure in the intention-to-treat population. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01058980.

Findings: Adenosine unmasked dormant pulmonary vein conduction in 284 (53%) of 534 patients. 102 (69·4%) of 147 patients with additional adenosine-guided ablation were free from symptomatic atrial tachyarrhythmia compared with 58 (42·3%) of 137 patients with no further ablation, corresponding to an absolute risk reduction of 27·1% (95% CI 15·9-38·2; p<0·0001) and a hazard ratio of 0·44 (95% CI 0·31-0·64; p<0·0001). Of 115 patients without dormant pulmonary vein conduction, 64 (55·7%) remained free from symptomatic atrial tachyarrhythmia (p=0·0191 vs dormant conduction with no further ablation). Occurrences of serious adverse events were similar in each group. One death (massive stroke) was deemed probably related to ablation in a patient included in the registry.

Interpretation: Adenosine testing to identify and target dormant pulmonary vein conduction during catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation is a safe and highly effective strategy to improve arrhythmia-free survival in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. This approach should be considered for incorporation into routine clinical practice.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, St Jude Medical, Biosense-Webster, and M Lachapelle (Montreal Heart Institute Foundation).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60026-5DOI Listing
August 2015

Impact of Electrode Type on Mapping of Scar-Related VT.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2015 Nov 10;26(11):1213-1223. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut-L'évêque, Université de Bordeaux, LIRYC Institute, Bordeaux, France.

Background: Substrate-based VT ablation is mostly based on maps acquired with ablation catheters. We hypothesized that multipolar mapping catheters are more effective for identification of scar and local abnormal ventricular activity (LAVA).

Methods And Results: Phase1: In a sheep infarction model (2 months postinfarction), substrate mapping and LAVA tagging (CARTO 3) was performed, using a Navistar (NAV) versus a PentaRay (PR) catheter (Biosense Webster). Phase2: Consecutive VT ablation patients from a single center underwent NAV versus PR mapping. Point pairs were defined as a PR and a NAV point located within a 3D-distance of ≤3 mm. Agreement was defined as both points in a pair being manually tagged as normal or LAVA. Four sheep (4 years, 50 ± 4.8 kg) and 9 patients were included (53 ± 14 years, 8 male, 6 ischemic cardiomyopathy). Mapping density was higher within the scar with PR versus NAV (3.2 vs. 0.7 points/cm , P = 0.001) with larger bipolar scar area (68 ± 55 cm vs. 58 ± 48 cm , P = 0.001). In total, 818 point pairs were analyzed. Using PR, far-field voltages were smaller (PR vs. NAV; bipolar: 1.43 ± 1.84 mV vs. 1.64 ± 2.04 mV, P = 0.001; unipolar; 4.28 ± 3.02 mV vs. 4.59 ± 3.67 mV, P < 0.001). More LAVA were also detected with PR (PR vs. NAV; 126 ± 113 vs. 36 ± 29, P = 0.001). When agreement on LAVA was reached (overall: 72%; both LAVA, 40%; both normal, 82%) higher LAVA voltages were recorded on PR (0.48 ± 0.33 mV vs. 0.31 ± 0.21 mV, P = 0.0001).

Conclusion: Multipolar mapping catheters with small electrodes provide more accurate and higher density maps, with a higher sensitivity to near-field signals. Agreement between PR and NAV is low.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.12761DOI Listing
November 2015

Approaches to catheter ablation for persistent atrial fibrillation.

N Engl J Med 2015 May;372(19):1812-22

From Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, ON (A.V.), Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal (L.M.), McMaster University, Hamilton, ON (C.A.M.), and Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, BC (P.N.) - all in Canada; Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China (C.J.); John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom (T.R.B.); Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway (J.C.); the German Heart Center, Munich (I.D.), and Charité Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Berlin (W.H.) - both in Germany; Ospedale M. Bufalini, Cesena (R.M.), Presidio Ospedaliero Pineta Grande, Castel Volturno (S.N.), and Ospedale Santa Croce e Carle, Cuneo (E.M.) - all in Italy; Hollywood Private Hospital, Perth, WA (R.W.), and the University of Adelaide and Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA (P.S.) - all in Australia; and Clinique Pasteur Toulouse, Toulouse, France (J.-P.A.).

Background: Catheter ablation is less successful for persistent atrial fibrillation than for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Guidelines suggest that adjuvant substrate modification in addition to pulmonary-vein isolation is required in persistent atrial fibrillation.

Methods: We randomly assigned 589 patients with persistent atrial fibrillation in a 1:4:4 ratio to ablation with pulmonary-vein isolation alone (67 patients), pulmonary-vein isolation plus ablation of electrograms showing complex fractionated activity (263 patients), or pulmonary-vein isolation plus additional linear ablation across the left atrial roof and mitral valve isthmus (259 patients). The duration of follow-up was 18 months. The primary end point was freedom from any documented recurrence of atrial fibrillation lasting longer than 30 seconds after a single ablation procedure.

Results: Procedure time was significantly shorter for pulmonary-vein isolation alone than for the other two procedures (P<0.001). After 18 months, 59% of patients assigned to pulmonary-vein isolation alone were free from recurrent atrial fibrillation, as compared with 49% of patients assigned to pulmonary-vein isolation plus complex electrogram ablation and 46% of patients assigned to pulmonary-vein isolation plus linear ablation (P=0.15). There were also no significant differences among the three groups for the secondary end points, including freedom from atrial fibrillation after two ablation procedures and freedom from any atrial arrhythmia. Complications included tamponade (three patients), stroke or transient ischemic attack (three patients), and atrioesophageal fistula (one patient).

Conclusions: Among patients with persistent atrial fibrillation, we found no reduction in the rate of recurrent atrial fibrillation when either linear ablation or ablation of complex fractionated electrograms was performed in addition to pulmonary-vein isolation. (Funded by St. Jude Medical; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01203748.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1408288DOI Listing
May 2015

Low contact force and force-time integral predict early recovery and dormant conduction revealed by adenosine after pulmonary vein isolation.

Europace 2015 Jun 24;17(6):877-83. Epub 2015 Jan 24.

Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain, Av. Hippocrate 10-2881, Brussels 1200, Belgium.

Aim: After pulmonary vein isolation (PVI), dormant conduction (DC) is present in at least one vein in a substantial number of patients. The present study seeks to determine whether there is a relationship between poor contact forces (CF) and the presence of DC after PVI.

Methods And Results: This prospective, operator-blinded, non-randomized dual-centre trial enrolled 34 consecutive patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation who were candidates for PVI. Radiofrequency (RF) energy was delivered by using an irrigated-tip force-sensing ablation catheter (Tacticath, St Jude Medical) at pre-defined target power. The operators were blinded to the CF data at all times. A total of 1476 RF applications were delivered in 743 pre-defined PV segments. For each application, the precise location of the catheter was registered and the following data were extracted from the Tacisys unit: application duration, minimum contact force, maximum contact force, average contact force (CF), and force-time integral (FTI). Sixty minutes after PVI, spontaneous early recovery (ER) of the left atrium (LA) to PV conduction was evaluated. In the absence of ER, the presence of a DC was evaluated by using intravenous adenosine (ATP). In the 34 patients recruited (23 males; mean age: 62 ± 9 years), all PVs were successfully isolated. At the end of the 60 min waiting period, 22 patients demonstrated at least one spontaneous ER or DC under ATP. The mean CF and FTI per PV segment differed significantly among the different veins but the sites of ER and DC were evenly distributed. However, both the minimum, the first and the mean CF and FTI per PV segment were significantly lower in the PV segments presenting either ER or DC as compared with those without ER or DC (mean CF: 4.9 ± 4.8 vs. 12.2 ± 1.65 g and mean FTI: 297 ± 291 vs. 860 ± 81 g s, P < 0.001 for both). Using multivariate analysis, both the mean CF and the FTI per lesion remained significantly associated with the risk of ER or DC. Moreover, a CF < 5 g per PV segment predicted ER+ and DC+ with a sensitivity of 71% and specificity of 82%. In contrast, ER and DC were very unlikely if RF application was performed with a mean CF > 10 g (negative predictive value: 98.7%).

Conclusion: Both a low CF and a low FTI are associated with the ER of the PVI and DC after PVI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euu329DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4447053PMC
June 2015

Five-year outcome of catheter ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation using termination of atrial fibrillation as a procedural endpoint.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2015 Feb 20;8(1):18-24. Epub 2014 Dec 20.

From the Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut Lévêque, Université Victor-Segalen Bordeaux, Pessac, France (D.S., P.K., S.M., V.A.-L., P.P., S.B.W., K.R., Y.K., L.R., A.J., N.L., M.P., M.D., M.O'N., S.K., R.W., T.R., H.C., A.J.S., S.Y., A.D., N.D., M.H., F.S., M.H., P.J.); and Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Austria (D.S., M.M.).

Background: This study aimed to determine 5-year efficacy of catheter ablation for persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) using AF termination as a procedural end point.

Methods And Results: One hundred fifty patients (57±10 years) underwent persistent AF ablation using a stepwise ablation approach (pulmonary vein isolation, electrogram-guided, and linear ablation) with the desired procedural end point being AF termination. Repeat ablation was performed for recurrent AF or atrial tachycardia. AF was terminated by ablation in 120 patients (80%). Arrhythmia-free survival rates after a single procedure were 35.3%±3.9%, 28.0%±3.7%, and 16.8%±3.2% at 1, 2, and 5 years, respectively. Arrhythmia-free survival rates after the last procedure (mean 2.1±1.0 procedures) were 89.7%±2.5%, 79.8%±3.4%, and 62.9%±4.5%, at 1, 2, and 5 years, respectively. During a median follow-up of 58 (interquartile range, 43-73) months after the last ablation procedure, 97 of 150 (64.7%) patients remained in sinus rhythm without antiarrhythmic drugs. Another 14 (9.3%) patients maintained sinus rhythm after reinitiation of antiarrhythmic drugs, and an additional 15 (10.0%) patients regressed to paroxysmal recurrences only. Failure to terminate AF during the index procedure (hazard ratio 3.831; 95% confidence interval, 2.070-7.143; P<0.001), left atrial diameter≥50 mm (hazard ratio 2.083; 95% confidence interval, 1.078-4.016; P=0.03), continuous AF duration≥18 months (hazard ratio 1.984; 95% confidence interval, 1.024-3.846; P<0.04), and structural heart disease (hazard ratio 1.874; 95% confidence interval, 1.037-3.388; P=0.04) predicted arrhythmia recurrence.

Conclusions: In patients with persistent AF, an ablation strategy aiming at AF termination is associated with freedom from arrhythmia recurrence in the majority of patients over a 5-year follow-up period. Procedural AF nontermination and specific baseline factors predict long-term outcome after ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.114.001943DOI Listing
February 2015

Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2014 Dec 28;7(6):1011-8. Epub 2014 Sep 28.

From the Cardiology Division, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy (M.A., M.M., F.D.A., F.G.); Department of Cardiology, Intermountain Heart Institute, Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, UT (T.J.B.); Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom (R.J.S., R.J.H.); Department of Arrhythmology, Maria Cecilia Hospital, GVM Care & Research, Cotignola, Italy (C.P.); Department of Cardiology, Kerckhoff Heart and Thorax Center, Bad Nauheim (T.N.); Department of Cardiology, Heart and Diabetes Center North Rhine-Westphalia, Ruhr University Bochum, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany (G.N.); Department of Cardiology, Heart Centre, Hospital Podlesi as, Třinec, Czech Republic (M.F.); Department of Cardiological, Thoracic, and Vascular Sciences, University of Padua, Padova, Italy (E.B.); Department of Cardiology, Bristol Heart Institute, University Hospital Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, United Kingdom (A.F., E.D.); Department of Cardiology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia (C.N.); Department of Cardiology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (C.N.); Department of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Hopital Cardiologique du Haut-Leveque, Bordeaux-Pessac, France (P.J., R.W.); Department of Cardiology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia (R.W.); and Department of Cardiology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia (J.M.K.).

Background: Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AFCA) is an established therapeutic option for rhythm control in symptomatic patients. Its efficacy and safety among patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction is based on small populations, and data concerning long-term outcome are limited. We performed this meta-analysis to assess safety and long-term outcome of AFCA in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction, to evaluate predictors of recurrence and impact on left ventricular function.

Methods And Results: A systematic review was conducted in MEDLINE/PubMed and Cochrane Library. Randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, and observational studies including patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction undergoing AFCA were included. Twenty-six studies were selected, including 1838 patients. Mean follow-up was 23 (95% confidence interval, 18-40) months. Overall complication rate was 4.2% (3.6%-4.8%). Efficacy in maintaining sinus rhythm at follow-up end was 60% (54%-67%). Meta-regression analysis revealed that time since first atrial fibrillation (P=0.030) and heart failure (P=0.045) diagnosis related to higher, whereas absence of known structural heart disease (P=0.003) to lower incidence of atrial fibrillation recurrences. Left ventricular ejection fraction improved significantly during follow-up by 13% (P<0.001), with a significant reduction of patients presenting an ejection fraction <35% (P<0.001). N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide blood levels decreased by 620 pg/mL (P<0.001).

Conclusions: AFCA efficacy in patients with impaired left ventricular systolic function improves when performed early in the natural history of atrial fibrillation and heart failure. AFCA provides long-term benefits on left ventricular function, significantly reducing the number of patients with severely impaired systolic function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.114.001938DOI Listing
December 2014

Atrial fibrillation: risk is still not well controlled let alone ablated.

Clin Ther 2014 Sep;36(9):1132-4

University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Hollywood Private Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2014.08.009DOI Listing
September 2014

Contemporary challenges of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation.

Clin Ther 2014 Sep 2;36(9):1145-50. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut-Leveque, Pessac, France.

Purpose: Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) is now one of the most frequently performed ablation procedures, but there are currently 2 important challenges: achieving permanent/durable rather than transient pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) and improving the results of ablation for the wider patient population with persistent AF.

Methods: Recent technical advances in the technique of ablation and the results of clinical trials aimed at achieving more permanent and durable PVI are reviewed. We also summarize recent advances in identifying atrial fibrosis and in understanding the pathophysiology of AF relevant to selecting patients for ablation of persistent AF.

Findings: The use of contact force-sensing technology, adenosine testing after ablation, and pace capture-guided ablation all have the potential for achieving more durable ablation. Selection of patients suitable for ablation of persistent AF may be improved by assessing the extent of atrial fibrosis with delayed enhancement imaging with cardiac magnetic resonance or by assessing the pattern of atrial electrical activity with the use of complex atrial electrograms. Advances in treatment are likely to result from the recognition of localized rotors and focal sources as primary sustaining mechanisms for all types of human AF and in the use of noninvasive mapping for their identification. Linear ablation to supplement PVI may improve the results of AF ablation.

Implications: Rapidly unfolding advances in the techniques of AF ablation and the understanding of mechanisms of AF hold promise for improving the durability of PVI and for extending the technique to carefully selected patients with persistent AF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2014.07.014DOI Listing
September 2014

Adenosine following pulmonary vein isolation to target dormant conduction elimination (ADVICE): methods and rationale.

Can J Cardiol 2012 Mar-Apr;28(2):184-90. Epub 2012 Jan 2.

Montreal Heart Institute and Montreal Heart Institute Coordinating Centre, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Background: Pulmonary vein (PV) isolation (PVI) has emerged as an effective therapy for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). However, AF recurs in up to 50% of patients, generally because of recovery of PV conduction. Adenosine given during the initial procedure may reveal dormant PV conduction, thereby identifying the need for additional ablation, leading to improved outcomes. The Adenosine Following Pulmonary Vein Isolation to Target Dormant Conduction Elimination (ADVICE) study is a prospective multicentre randomized trial assessing the impact of adenosine-guided PVI in preventing AF recurrences.

Methods: Patients undergoing a first PVI procedure for paroxysmal AF will be recruited. After standard PVI is completed, all patients will receive intravenous adenosine in an attempt to unmask dormant conduction. If dormant conduction is elicited, patients will be randomized to no further ablation (control group) or additional adenosine-guided ablation until dormant conduction is abolished. If no dormant conduction is revealed, randomly selected patients will be followed in a registry. The primary outcome is time to first documented symptomatic AF recurrence. Assuming that dormant conduction is present in 50% of patients post PVI and symptomatic AF recurs in 45% of controls, 244 patients with dormant conduction will be required to obtain > 90% power to detect a difference of 20%. Thus, a total of 488 patients will be enrolled and followed for 12 months.

Conclusion: The ADVICE trial will assess whether a PVI strategy incorporating elimination of dormant conduction unmasked by intravenous adenosine will decrease the rate of recurrent symptomatic AF compared with standard PVI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2011.10.008DOI Listing
July 2012
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