Efficacy and safety of targeted focal ablation versus PV isolation assisted by magnetic electroanatomic mapping

Francis E Marchlinski, David Callans, Sanjay Dixit, Edward P Gerstenfeld, Robert Rho, Jian-Fang Ren, Erica Zado
Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology 2003, 14 (4): 358-65

INTRODUCTION: Pulmonary vein (PV) triggers initiate atrial fibrillation (AF). The aim of this study was to compare the outcome of focal PV ablation versus targeted PV electrical isolation aided by multipolar catheter recordings in the coronary sinus (CS) and right atrium and magnetic electroanatomic mapping (MEAM) for drug-refractory AF.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Multipolar recordings identified PVs with triggers based on PV ostial pace map match for spontaneous and provoked triggers. PV triggers were provoked by isoproterenol, adenosine, and AF induction followed by cardioversion. MEAM defined PV ostial anatomy and assisted in localization of AF trigger and ablation lesions. All focal PV ablation procedures preceded PV isolation procedures at our institution. To limit a learning curve effect and validate the comparison, the results included outcome of procedures by a single experienced operator in the last 32 consecutive patients undergoing focal PV ablation and in 75 consecutive patients undergoing PV isolation. Patient characteristics were similar with respect to mean age (50 vs 52 years), mean left atrial size (4.3 vs 4.2 cm), presence of paroxysmal AF (84% vs 88%), and demonstration of non-PV triggers (16% in both groups). PV isolation was confirmed in 99% of PVs by multipolar circular catheter. MEAM confirmed noncircumferential ostial ablation in 69% of PVs. Patients undergoing PV isolation had less AF from PV triggers at the end of ablation (1% vs 16%, P < 0.01); had less AF at 2 months (17% vs 42%, P < 0.001); and had 1-year freedom from AF of 80% versus 45% (P < 0.001). Adverse events were low in both groups with no stroke or symptomatic PV stenosis.

CONCLUSION: Using the described techniques, PV electrical isolation of PVs demonstrating spontaneous and/or provoked triggers is superior to focal PV ablation, with marked differences in outcome by 2 months. MEAM confirmed the noncircumferential nature of ostial ablation for effective isolation of most PVs and may play a role in the low risk and good outcome observed. The good outcome of targeted PV isolation as described suggests the need for a prospective comparison of targeted versus empiric PV isolation techniques.

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