Surgical ablation is a well-known treatment for atrial fibrillation (AF); however, little is known about the absolute success rate. The aim of this study is to compare the absolute pre- and postoperative incidence of AF after minimally invasive surgical ablation for paroxysmal AF.METHODS
Twenty consecutive patients (mean age 55 ± 8; 55% male) received a continuous loop monitor (CLM) 4 weeks prior to a minimally invasive pulmonary vein isolation (MIPVI). The mean preoperative AF burden was compared with the mean AF burden during follow-up. Follow-up was achieved for a period of 12 months.RESULTS
Seventeen patients underwent an MIPVI successfully. Two patients did not reach the threshold for surgery. In 1 patient, surgery was discontinued because of a perioperative bleeding due to adhesions after a previous percutaneous AF ablation. Mean AF burden preoperatively was 66%. After 12 months, there was an absolute reduction in AF burden of 65% (95% CI 42–88, P < 0.001) and 12 of 15 patients in follow-up (80%) were free of AF without antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs).CONCLUSIONS
The use of a CLM in the follow-up of surgical ablation is a very accurate way to confirm absolute surgical results. Furthermore, with the use of a CLM, preoperative evaluation can be done more accurately, and the surgical procedure can be adjusted to the patients' needs.