Results of a minimally invasive surgical pulmonary vein isolation and ganglionic plexi ablation for atrial fibrillation: single-center experience with 12-month follow-up

Frederick T Han, Vigneshwar Kasirajan, Marcin Kowalski, Robert Kiser, Luke Wolfe, Gautham Kalahasty, Richard K Shepard, Mark A Wood, Kenneth A Ellenbogen
Circulation. Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology 2009, 2 (4): 370-7

BACKGROUND: The Cox Maze procedure for treatment of medically refractory atrial fibrillation (AF) is limited by its complexity and requirement for cardiopulmonary bypass. Long-term follow-up and success using criteria established by the Heart Rhythm Society/European Heart Rhythm Association/European Cardiac Arrhythmia Society consensus statement have not been reported for surgical AF ablation. We describe the results of using a thorascopic approach and radiofrequency energy to perform bilateral pulmonary vein isolation and left atrial ganglionic plexi ablation for treatment of AF.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Forty-five (33 paroxysmal; 12 persistent) consecutive patients underwent thorascopic bilateral radiofrequency pulmonary vein isolation, ganglionic plexi ablation, ligament of Marshall ablation, and left atrial appendage exclusion by a single surgeon. Forty-three patients were prospectively followed without antiarrhythmic drugs for a minimum of 1 year with a 30-day continuous event monitor or pacemaker interrogation at 6 and 12 months. Failure was defined as any atrial tachyarrhythmia of >30 seconds' duration occurring >90 days after surgery. Mean follow-up was 516+/-181 days (202 to 858 days). Twenty-eight (65%) patients had no atrial tachyarrhythmia >30 seconds by 1 year, and 15 (35%) patients had atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrences by 1 year. Eight of 15 patients with recurrent AF had catheter ablation resulting in elimination and/or reduction of AF episodes in 7 of 8 patients. Four of 15 patients had AF elimination or reduction with antiarrhythmic drugs alone. Three patients did not benefit from surgery and received rate control only. There were no deaths; 1 phrenic nerve injury and 2 pleural effusions were the only major complications.

CONCLUSIONS: The single procedure success at 1-year follow-up for surgical pulmonary vein isolation and ganglionic plexi ablation is 65%. Atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrences after surgery are usually responsive to catheter ablation and/or antiarrhythmic drugs.

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