Ablation for persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) remains a difficult and time-consuming procedure with varying degrees of success. We evaluated the long-term effects of a novel approach for ablation of persistent AF using multi-electrode catheters.Methods and results
In 89 patients with longstanding persistent AF (>1 year), multi-electrode ablation was performed with a pulmonary vein ablation catheter (PVAC), a multi-array septal catheter (MASC), and a multi-array ablation catheter (MAAC) for ablation of complex-fractionated atrial electrograms (CFAE) at the septum, left atrial (LA) roof, floor, posterior wall, and mitral isthmus. Follow-up was performed at 6 and 12 months with electrocardiogram, 7 days Holter, and occasionally ambulant event recordings. Average procedure and fluoroscopy times were 112 ± 32 and 21 ± 10 min. The pre-specified endpoint of pulmonary vein isolation and LA CFAE ablation was reached in all patients. No procedural complications were observed. At 12 months after a single treatment 44 of 89 (49%) remained in sinus rhythm, including direct current cardioversion in 12 patients. At 12 months, after a redo PVAC/MASC/MAAC, an additional 6 of 15 patients (40%) were free of AF. In 18 of 89 (20%) patients AF was changed to paroxysmal.Conclusions
In this single centre study, ablation for longstanding persistent AF with the PVAC/MASC/MAAC resulted in 56% freedom of AF at 1 year after 1.2 ± 0.4 procedures. This approach is time efficient and has a favourable safety profile.