Radiofrequency ablation of accessory pathways in patients with the Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome: the long-term mortality and risk of atrial fibrillation

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To assess the long-term mortality and occurrence of post-ablation atrial fibrillation in patients undergoing a radiofrequency ablation for the Wolff–Parkinson–White (WPW) syndrome.

Methods and results

A retrospective cohort study of patients (N = 362) subjected to radiofrequency ablation of the WPW syndrome at Aarhus University Hospital from 1990 to 2011. A comparison cohort (N = 3619) was generated from the Danish National Board of Health Central Population Registry. We found no significant difference in all-cause mortality when comparing the WPW group with the control group [hazard ratio (HR): 0.77 and confidence interval (CI): 0.47–1.25]. After radiofrequency ablation, the WPW group had a significantly higher risk of atrial fibrillation than the control group (HR: 4.77 and CI: 3.05–7.43). Atrial fibrillation prior to ablation (HR: 4.66 and CI: 2.09–10.41) and age over 50 years (HR: 9.79 and CI: 4.29–22.36) at the time of ablation were independent risk factors for post-ablation atrial fibrillation in the WPW group.


Patients with radiofrequency ablation-treated WPW syndrome have a post-ablation mortality that is similar to the background population. The risk of atrial fibrillation remains high after radiofrequency ablation of the WPW syndrome.

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