Role of pulmonary veins isolation in persistent atrial fibrillation ablation: the pulmonary vein isolation in persistent atrial fibrillation (PIPA) study

Giuseppe Stabile, Emanuele Bertaglia, Pietro Turco, Franco Zoppo, Assunta Iuliano, Francesca Zerbo, Vincenzo La Rocca, Antonio De Simone
Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology: PACE 2009, 32: S116-9

BACKGROUND: The role of pulmonary veins (PV) isolation in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) is still debated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the adjunctive role of PV isolation in patients with persistent AF who underwent circumferential PV ablation (anatomical approach).

METHODS: We treated 97 consecutive patients presenting with drug-refractory persistent AF by an anatomical approach (group A, n = 36, mean age = 60 +/- 8 years, 29 males) or an integrated approach (group B, n = 61, mean age 59 +/- 10 years, 48 males). In all patients, radiofrequency (RF) ablation was performed by means of a nonfluoroscopic navigation system, in order to anatomically create circumferential lines around the PV. In group B, the persistence of PV potentials was ascertained with a multipolar circular catheter. If PV potentials persisted, RF energy targeting the electrophysiological breakthroughs was delivered to disconnect the PV. Past a 2-month period of observation, success was defined as absence of any atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence lasting >30 seconds.

RESULTS: Total procedure duration (220 +/- 62 minutes vs 140 +/- 43 minutes, P < 0.001), fluoroscopy time (35 +/- 15 minutes vs 17 +/- 9 minutes, P < 0.001), and RF delivery time (48 +/- 22 minutes vs 27 +/- 9 minutes, P < 0.001) were significantly longer in group B than in group A. One cardiac perforation occurred in group A. After 15 +/- 9.1 months, 21 patients in group A (58%) and 34 patients in group B (56%) were free of atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence (P = 0.9).

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with persistent AF, who underwent an anatomical approach, electrophysiological confirmation of PV disconnection significantly increased the fluoroscopy and procedural times, without effect on the long-term outcomes.

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