Anatomy versus physiology-guided ablation for persistent atrial fibrillation

Abhishek Deshmukh, Li Zhong, Joshua Slusser, Peilin Xiao, Pei Zhang, David Hodge, Mélèze Hocini, Christopher McLeod, David Bradley, Thomas Munger, Douglas Packer, Yong Mei Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Pulmonary vein isolation remains the cornerstone of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. However, due to high recurrence rates, especially in patients with persistent AF, PV antral isolation, complemented by linear ablation, autonomic modulation, and ablation of complex fractionated electrograms, have been attempted to increase the odds of success. However, the optimum approach for a complementary strategy in addition to PVI for persistent AF is unknown. Methods: We performed a prospective randomized trial by assigning 92 patients with persistent AF in 1:1 ratio to pulmonary-vein isolation plus ablation of electrograms showing complex fractionated activity (45 patients), or pulmonary-vein isolation plus additional linear ablation across the left atrial roof and mitral valve isthmus (47 patients). The duration of follow-up was five years. The primary endpoint was freedom from any documented recurrence of atrial fibrillation after a single ablation procedure. Results: At a 12-month follow-up, 9 (23%) patients had AF recurrence in the linear ablation and 8 (21%) patients in the CFAE groups. At a mean follow-up duration of 59±36 months, 48.3% of patients in the linear ablation group and 44.6% of patients in the CFAE group were free from AF (p=0.403). There were no significant differences between the two groups for independent predictors of freedom from AF. The overall procedure time and radiation exposure were higher in the PVI+linear ablation group. There were five adverse events noted, two in the linear group (pericardial effusion not requiring drain) and 3 in the CFAE group (1 pseudoaneurysm, one effusion requiring pericardiocentesis and one effusion nor requiring drain). Conclusion: Among patients with persistent atrial fibrillation, we found no difference in maintenance of sinus rhythm in either linear ablation or ablation of complex fractionated electrograms was performed in addition to pulmonary vein isolation in short- and long-term follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Atrial Fibrillation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Post-Operative Atrial Fibrillation
  • Time Varying Risk
  • Valvular Heart Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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