Impact of systematic isolation of superior vena cava in addition to pulmonary vein antrum isolation on the outcome of paroxysmal, persistent, and permanent atrial fibrillation ablation: results from a randomized study

Andrea Corrado, Aldo Bonso, Michela Madalosso, Antonio Rossillo, Sakis Themistoclakis, Luigi Di Biase, Andrea Natale, Antonio Raviele
Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology 2010, 21 (1): 1-5

BACKGROUND: Pulmonary veins (PVs) have been shown to represent the most frequent sites of ectopic beats initiating paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). However, additional non-PV triggers, arising from different areas, have been reported as well. One of the most common non-PV sites described is the superior vena cava.

AIMS: The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact resulting from the systematic isolation of the superior vena cava (SVCI) in addition to pulmonary vein antrum isolation (PVAI) on the outcome of paroxysmal, persistent, and permanent AF ablation.

METHODS: A total of 320 consecutive patients who had been referred to our center in order to undergo a first attempt of AF ablation were randomized into 2 groups. Group I (160 patients) underwent PVAI only; Group II (160 patients) underwent PVAI and SVCI.

RESULTS: AF was paroxysmal in 134 (46%), persistent in 75 (23%), and permanent in 111 (31%) of said patients. SVCI was performed on 134 of the 160 patients (84%) in Group II. SVC isolation was not performed on the remaining 26 patients either because of phrenic nerve capture or the lack of SVC potentials. Comparison of the outcome data between the 2 groups, after a follow-up of 12 months, revealed a significant difference in total procedural success solely with patients manifesting paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (56/73 [77%] Group I vs. 55/61 [90%] Group II; P = 0.04; OR 2.78).

CONCLUSIONS: In our study, the strategy of the empiric SVCI in addition to PVAI has improved the outcome of AF ablation solely in patients manifesting paroxysmal AF.

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