Randomized comparison between pulmonary vein antral isolation versus complex fractionated electrogram ablation for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation

Minglong Chen, Bing Yang, Hongwu Chen, Weizhu Ju, Fengxiang Zhang, Hung-Fat Tse, Kejiang Cao
Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology 2011, 22 (9): 973-81

INTRODUCTION: Circumferential pulmonary vein antral isolation (PVAI) and atrial complex fractionated electrograms (CFEs) are both ablative techniques for the treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF). However, data on the comparative value of these 2 ablation strategies are very limited.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We randomized 118 patients with drug-refractory PAF to receive PVAI ablation (n = 60) or CFE ablation (n = 58). For CFE group, spontaneous/induced AF was mapped using validated, automated software to guide ablation until all CFE areas were eliminated. For PVAI group, all 4 pulmonary vein antra were electrically isolated as confirmed by circular mapping catheter. Patients with spontaneous/inducible AF after the initial ablation procedure were crossed over to the other arms. After initial ablation procedure, AF persisted/inducible in 24/59 patients (41%), and 34/58 patients (59%) assigned to PVAI and CFE ablation, respectively (P = 0.05). Then 58 patients underwent PVAI + CFE ablation. After 22.6 ± 6.4 months, PVAI ablation group was more likely than CFE ablation group to achieve control of any AF/atrial tachycardia (AT) off drugs (43/60, 72% vs 33/58, 57%, P = 0.075) and lower recurrence rate of AT (11.9% vs 34.5%, P = 0.004). Patients who received CFE ablation alone (38%) had significantly lower overall success rate to achieve control of AF/AT off drugs compared with patients who received PVAI ablation (77%, P = 0.002) alone or PVAI + CFE ablation (69%, P = 0.008) due to higher recurrence rate of AT (50% vs 6% vs 13%, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: CFE ablation in PAF patients was associated with higher occurrence rate of postprocedure AT compared with PVAI ablation, whereby making it less likely to be a sole ablation strategy for PAF patients. 

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