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BACKGROUND: Controversy exists about the impact of acute atrial fibrillation (AF) termination and prolongation of atrial fibrillation cycle length (AFCL) during ablation on long-term procedural outcome. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of AF termination and AFCL prolongation on freedom from AF in patients from the STAR AF II (Substrate and Trigger Ablation for Reduction of Atrial Fibrillation Trial-Part II) trial. METHODS: Acute changes in AFCL and AF termination were collected during the index procedure of the STAR AF II trial and compared to recurrence of AF at 18 months. Recurrence was assessed by ECG, Holter (3, 6, 9, 12, 18 months), and weekly transtelephonic ECG monitoring for 18 months. RESULTS: AF terminated in 8% of the pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) arm, 45% in the PVI+complex electrogram arm, and 22% of the PVI+linear ablation arm (P <.001), but freedom from AF did not differ among the 3 groups (P = .15). Freedom from AF was significantly higher in patients who presented to the laboratory in sinus rhythm (SR) compared to those without AF termination (63% vs 44%, P = .007). Patients with AF termination had an intermediate outcome (53%) that was not significantly different from those in SR (P = .84) or those who did not terminate (P = .08). AF termination was a univariable predictor of success (P = .007), but by multivariable analysis, presence of early SR was the strongest predictor of success (hazard ratio 0.67, P = .004). Prolongation of AFCL was not predictive of 18-month freedom from AF. CONCLUSION: Acute AF termination and prolongation in AFCL did not consistently predict 18-month freedom from AF. Presence of SR before or early during the ablation was the strongest predictor of better outcome.

Original publication




Journal article


Heart Rhythm

Publication Date





476 - 483


Ablation, Atrial fibrillation, Atrial fibrillation cycle length, Outcome, Termination, Aged, Atrial Fibrillation, Catheter Ablation, Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac, Female, Heart Conduction System, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pulmonary Veins, Recurrence, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome