Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease associated with atrial fibrillation (AF) and stroke. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of AF ablation in patients with RA. Methods: All patients with RA undergoing AF ablation at our institution from 2010 to 2021 were propensity matched to patients without RA using 9 baseline characteristics. The primary outcome was procedural efficacy defined by clinical AF recurrence, the need for antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs), and repeat catheter ablation. Secondary outcome was safety. Results: A total of 45 patients with RA (age 66.3 ± 7.7 years) were matched to 45 patients without a history of RA (age 68.0 ± 7.3 years). Both groups had similar procedural and periprocedural characteristics. Before ablation, RA patients had statistically higher C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (P ≤.01) and erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESRs) (P <.05) compared to non-RA patients. After ablation, RA patients had statistically significant higher rates of AF recurrence (P = .006), were more likely to be taking AADs (P <.05), and more likely to undergo repeat ablations (P <.05). The use of immunosuppression or corticosteroids at the time of ablation did not influence the primary endpoint of AF recurrence, AADs, or repeat ablation. Multivariate regression analysis showed CRP and ESR were independent predictors of AF recurrence. CRP was an independent predictor of repeat ablation. Conclusion: Patients with RA are at higher risk of clinical AF recurrence, and are more likely to be taking AADs and require repeat ablation. Preablation CRP and ESR are independent predictors of AF recurrence, and CRP is an independent predictor of repeat catheter ablation.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial fibrillation recurrence
- Catheter ablation
- Pulmonary vein isolation
- Rheumatoid arthritis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine