Concomitant Unipolar Radiofrequency Ablation of Nonparoxysmal Atrial Fibrillation in Rheumatic and Degenerative Valve Disease

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The aim of this study was to compare the results of concomitant unipolar radiofrequency ablation of nonparoxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) between rheumatic and degenerative valve disease (RHD versus DVD).


Between 2005 and 2012, 96 patients underwent AF ablation with unipolar radiofrequency concurrently with heart valve surgery. They were followed in three months and at a median follow-up of 39 (18 to 61) months.


The mean age was 62 years old. Most patients had RHD (54.2%) and dilated left atria (LA, diameter 52.6 ± 5.8 mm). Patients with RHD were more likely to be younger and have larger LA. 88 patients (92%) underwent prophylactic closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA). Pulmonary vein-isolation, box lesion, LAA isolation, and left isthmus line were performed by radiofrequency, along with other right atrial cut-and-sew lines. Overall, surgical complications occurred in 25% of the patients and pacemaker implantation (17.7%) was the most frequently observed. In-hospital mortality rate was zero. The median length of stay was 8 (7, 12) days. Seventy-one percent of the patients were in sinus rhythm at discharge. Sinus rhythm maintenance was 45% and 40% in three months and at a median follow-up of 39 (18 to 61) months (269 patient-years), respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between RHD and DVD. In the multivariate analysis, LA ≥50 mm was the single independent predictor of AF recurrence at three months.


Radiofrequency ablation of AF concurrently with heart valve surgery is poorly effective in patients with multiple adverse risk factors. Patients with RHD and DVD had similar rates of sinus rhythm recovery. LA ≥50 mm was the single predictor of AF recurrence at three months. doi: 10.1111/jocs.12452(J Card Surg 2015;30:117–123)

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