Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure: impact of maintaining sinus rhythm on heart failure status and long-term rates of stroke and death.
Ullah W., Ling LH., Prabhu S., Lee G., Kistler P., Finlay MC., Earley MJ., Sporton S., Bashir Y., Betts TR., Rajappan K., Thomas G., Duncan E., Staniforth A., Mann I., Chow A., Lambiase P., Schilling RJ., Hunter RJ.
AIMS: Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with heart failure (HF) can improve left ventricular (LV) function and HF symptoms. We aimed to investigate whether long-term maintenance of sinus rhythm impacts on hard outcomes such as stroke and death. METHODS AND RESULTS: An international multicentre registry was compiled from seven centres for consecutive patients undergoing catheter ablation of AF. Long-term freedom from AF was examined in patients with and without HF. The impact of maintaining sinus rhythm on rates of stroke and death was also examined. A total of 1273 patients were included: 171 with HF and 1102 without. Median follow-up was 3.1 years (IQR 2.0-4.3). The final procedure success rate was no different for paroxysmal AF (PAF) (78.7 vs. 85.7%, P = 0.186), but significantly different for persistent AF (57.3 vs. 75.8%, P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that HF independently predicted recurrent arrhythmia [hazard ratio (HR) 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-2.4, P = 0.002]. New York Heart Association class decreased from 2.3 ± 0.7 at baseline to 1.5 ± 0.8 at follow-up (P < 0.001). Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) increased from 34.3 ± 9.0 to 45.8 ± 12.8% (P < 0.001). Recurrent AF was strongly predictive of stroke or death in HF patients (HR 8.33, 95% CI 1.86-37.7, P = 0.001). CONCLUSION: Long-term success rates for persistent (but not paroxysmal) AF ablation are significantly lower in HF patients. Left ventricular function and HF symptoms were improved following ablation. In HF patients, recurrent arrhythmia strongly predicted stroke and death during follow-up.