BACKGROUND: Pulmonary vein isolation is an established strategy for catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF). However, in a significant number of patients, a repeat procedure is mandatory due to arrhythmia recurrence. In this study, we report safety data and procedural details of patients undergoing index ablation versus repeat ablation in a registry-based real-life setting.
METHODS: Patients from the German Ablation Registry, a prospective, multicentre registry of patients undergoing ablation between January 2007 and January 2010 were included.
RESULTS: A total of 4155 patients were enrolled in the study. Group I (index ablation) consisted of 3377/4155 (82.1%) and group II (repeat ablation) of 738/4155 (17.9%). Patients in group I had a significantly higher ratio of paroxysmal AF (69.3% vs 61.9%, p < 0.001) and significantly less persistent AF (30.7% vs 38.1%, p < 0.001). The repeat group showed significantly lower mean RF application duration (2580 s. vs 1960, p < 0.001), less fluoroscopy time (29 min. vs. 27 min., p < 0.001), less mean dose area product (DAP) (3744 cGy × cm2 vs 3325 cGy × cm2, p = 0.001), and shorter study duration (181.2 min. vs 163.6 min., p < 0.001). No statistical difference between the groups was found in terms of mortality (0.3% vs 0.1%, p = 0.39), MACE (0.4% vs 0.3%, p = 0.58), MACCE (0.8% vs 0.6%, p = 0.47), composite safety endpoint (1.5% vs 1.4%, p = 0.76), and arrhythmia recurrence (43.8% vs 41.9%, p = 0.37) during 1-year follow-up. Both groups reported to have improved or no symptoms (80.4% vs 77.8%, p = 0.13).
CONCLUSION: Repeat catheter ablation is safe and provides a symptomatic relief comparable to index ablation. Repeat procedures are significantly shorter and use less fluoroscopy.