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Catheter ablation has been wildly used to treat atrial fibrillation (AF) and has achieved a better efficacy for paroxysmal AF (PAF) but not for persistent AF (PerAF). Furthermore, a few data on the efficacy and safety of catheter ablation for PerAF were reported. This study aimed to investigate long-term efficacy of radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) for PerAF and explore predictors of late recurrence of atrial fibrillation (LRAF).A total of 92 consecutive patients with PerAF (64 males, aged 56.42 ± 11.24 years) were enrolled in this study and accepted circumferential pulmonary vein isolation (CPVI) alone or CPVI combined additional ablation.Maintenance rate of sinus rhythm (SR) was 40.2% after a single procedure with median follow-up of 15 months and 52.2% after mean 1.3 ± 0.6 procedures with median follow-up of 26 months. Long-term SR maintenance rate was no statistical difference between patients with CPVI alone and with CPVI combined additional ablation (48.6% vs 35.1%, log rank test, P = .152). Patients with AF duration < 24 months had a higher long-term SR maintenance rate than those with AF duration ≥ 24 months (55.6% vs 30.4%, log rank test, P = .022). AF duration (OR = 1.015, 95%CI 1.001–1.030, P = .015), and early recurrence of AF (ERAF) (OR = 10.654, 95%CI 3.853–29.460, P < .001) were predictors of LRAF after a single procedure.In conclusion, long-term maintenance SR rate was 52.2% in patients with PerAF after multiple procedures with a median over 2-year follow-up. Patients with AF duration < 24 months had better outcome. AF duration and ERAF were predictors of LRAF after a single procedure.