Objective: This study sought to investigate incidence of left atrial appendage (LAA) triggers of atrial fibrillation (AF) and/or organized atrial tachycardias (OAT) in patients undergoing AF ablation and to evaluate outcomes after ablation. Background: Although LAA isolation is being increasingly performed during AF ablation, the true incidence of LAA triggers for AF remains unclear. Methods: All patients with LAA triggers of AF and/or OAT during AF ablation from 2001 to 2017 were included. LAA triggers were defined as atrial premature depolarizations from the LAA, which initiated sustained AF and/or OAT. Results: Out of 7,129 patients undergoing AF ablation over 16 years, LAA triggers were observed in 21 (0.3%) subjects (age 60 ± 9 years; 57% males; 52% persistent AF). Twenty (95%) patients were undergoing repeat ablation. The LAA was the only nonpulmonary vein trigger in 3 patients; the remaining 18 patients had both LAA and other nonpulmonary vein triggers. LAA triggers were eliminated in all patients (focal ablation in 19 patients; LAA isolation in 2 patients). Twelve months after ablation, 47.6% remained free from recurrent arrhythmia. After overall follow-up of 5.0 ± 3.6 years (median: 3.7 years; interquartile range: 1.4 to 8.9 years), 38.1% were arrhythmia-free. All 3 patients with triggers limited to the LAA remained free of AF recurrence. One patient undergoing LAA isolation developed LAA thrombus during follow-up. Conclusions: The incidence of true LAA triggers is very low (0.3%). Most patients with LAA triggers have additional nonpulmonary vein triggers, and despite elimination of LAA triggers, long-term arrhythmia recurrence rates remain high. Potential risks of empiric LAA isolation during AF ablation (especially first-time AF ablation) may outweigh benefits.
- atrial fibrillation
- left atrial appendage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)