Background: Left atrial (LA) function can be impaired by the atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation and might be associated with the risk of recurrence. We sought to determine whether the post-procedural changes in LA function impact the risk of recurrence following AF ablation. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent AF ablation between 2009 and 2011 and underwent transthoracic echocardiography before ablation, 1-day and 3-month after ablation. Peak left atrial contraction strain (PACS) and left atrial emptying fraction (LAEF) were evaluated during sinus rhythm and compared across the three time points. The primary endpoint was atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence after ablation. Results: A total of 144 patients were enrolled (mean age 61 ± 11 years, 77% male, 46% persistent AF). PACS and LAEF initially decreased 1-day following ablation but partially recovered within 3 months in PAF patients, with a similar trend in the PerAF patients. After median 24 months follow-up, 68 (47%) patients had recurrence. Patients with recurrence had higher PACS1-day than that in non-recurrence subjects (-10.9 ± 5.0% vs. -13.4 ± 4.7%, p = 0.003). PACS1-day -12% distinguished recurrence cases with a sensitivity of 67.7% and specificity of 60.5%. The Kaplan–Meier curves showed significant difference in 5-year cumulative probability of recurrence between those with PACS ≥ -12% and PACS < -12% (log rank p < 0.0001). Multivariate regression showed that PACS1-day was an independent risk factor of arrhythmia recurrence. Conclusions: Left atrial function deteriorates immediately following AF ablation and partially recovers in 3 months but remains abnormal in the majority of patients. PACS1-day post procedure predicts arrhythmia recurrence at long-term follow-up.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Left atrium function
- Strain imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine