Objectives: We aimed to investigate the outcomes of pulmonary vein isolation in athletes. Methods: We retrospectively identified endurance athletes who underwent catheter ablation at our institution (2004–2018). Endurance athletes were defined as participating in competitive athletics for at least 1500 lifetime hours in sports at the IB or IIA Bethesda classification or higher. Primary endpoints were freedom from atrial arrhythmias at 12, 24, and 36 months after the procedure. Secondary endpoints were defined as qualitative improvement in symptoms allowing athletes to return to their previous level of activity. Athletes were compared with a control group of nonathletes in a 3-to-1 matched analysis by age and sex. Results: A total of 39 endurance athletes who underwent catheter ablation were identified during the study period. At 12 months, there was no difference in treatment outcomes for athletes versus nonathletes (relative risk [RR], 1.06; 95% CI, 0.92–1.22; p =.40). Freedom from atrial arrhythmias was 35% less likely in athletes than nonathletes at 24 months (RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.50–0.83; p <.001) and 42% less likely at 36 months (RR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.41–0.79; p <.001). Overall, 77% of the athletes were able to return to their previous level of activity following catheter ablation. Conclusion: Endurance athletes with atrial fibrillation appear to have higher rates of atrial arrhythmia recurrence than nonathletes after catheter ablation, with higher rates of atypical flutter. The majority of athletes were able to return to their previous level of activity after ablation.
- atrial fibrillation
- catheter ablation
- pulmonary vein isolation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine