How many electrical cardioversions should be applied for repetitive recurrences of atrial arrhythmias following ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation?

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Abstract

Aims

We aimed to determine how many electrical cardioversions (ECs) should be applied to treat repetitive persistent recurrences of atrial fibrillation (AF) following ablation of persistent AF within the early post-procedural period.

Methods and results

A total of 40 patients with >1 episode of recurrent AF in the form of persistent atrial arrhythmias within 3 months following the ablation were recruited from 108 patients who underwent ablation for persistent or long-standing persistent AF. Electrical cardioversions were applied up to six times, if necessary, to restore sinus rhythm at clinical visits at 2-week intervals until 3 months after the ablation. Fourteen (35%) ablation failures defined as recurrences of AF identified from the 3rd month after the ablation procedure were finally diagnosed during the follow-up period (14 ± 4 month). The patients with an ablation failure more frequently required ECs than those without (3.7 ± 0.3 vs. 1.2 ± 0.2 times; P < 0.0001). A receiver-operating characteristic curve identified a number of ECs of ≥3 as the optimal cut-off value for predicting an ablation failure (area under the curve 0.91; sensitivity, 86%, and specificity, 96%; P = 0.0007). In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, a number of ECs of ≥3 was the only independent predictor of an ablation failure (odds ratio, 11.32; 95% confidence interval, 3.83–58.22; P = 0.0019).

Conclusion

It was difficult to maintain sinus rhythm in patients with persistent AF who required several ECs for recurrences of AF within the early post-ablation period.

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