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Clinical predictors and outcomes associated with acute return of pulmonary vein conduction during pulmonary vein isolation for treatment of atrial fibrillation

William H Sauer, Melissa L McKernan, David Lin, Edward P Gerstenfeld, David J Callans, Francis E Marchlinski
Heart Rhythm: the Official Journal of the Heart Rhythm Society 2006, 3 (9): 1024-8
16945795

BACKGROUND: Pulmonary vein electrical isolation (PVI) is an effective treatment for atrial fibrillation (AF). However, recurrence of pulmonary vein (PV) conduction after ablation may limit long-term success.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine the clinical predictors of acute PV reconnection during PVI and assess the long-term clinical outcomes associated with this phenomenon.

METHODS: We studied all patients with AF referred for PVI between November 2000 and August 2004. Over the course of the study period, PVI of arrhythmogenic PVs was performed segmentally using a 4-mm tip (52 degrees , 40 W, up to 90 seconds) or 8-mm tip catheter (50 degrees , 70 W, up to 60 seconds). PVI was defined as entry and exit block using a multipolar Lasso catheter. All veins were resampled to confirm isolation after 20-60 minutes. AF control was defined as no AF on or off a previously ineffective antiarrhythmic drug. Follow-up data included transtelephonic monitoring and clinical data collection from patient interviews.

RESULTS: There were 424 patients who underwent isolation of 1,347 PVs during the study period. Acute reconnection of at least one PV occurred in 211 (50%) of the 424 patients and 326 (24%) of 1,347 of the PVs targeted. The left superior PV was most likely to acutely recover conduction compared with the other veins (left superior 31%, right superior 26%, right inferior 22%, left inferior 24%; P = .03). Patients with acute reconnection were more likely to be older, have a larger left atrium, have a history of hypertension or obstructive sleep apnea, and demonstrate persistent AF. After a single procedure, AF control was achieved in 153 (70%) of the 213 patients who demonstrated acute PV reconnection compared with 148 (73%) of 211 patients without acute PV reconnection observed (P = .52).

CONCLUSIONS: Acute return of PV conduction is common after successful PVI and is more likely to occur in older patients with nonparoxysmal AF, hypertension, a large left atrium, and sleep apnea. There was no significant difference in acute PV reconnection between the 4-mm and 8-mm tip RF catheter despite differences in power and duration of energy delivery. Furthermore, there was no effect of PV reconnection on long-term AF control after repeated disconnection was performed.

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