Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Aim: There is controversy and sparse data on whether substrate based techniques in addition to pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) confer benefit in the catheter ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation (AF), especially if long standing. We performed an observational study to assess whether substrate based ablation improved freedom from atrial arrhythmia. Methods: A total of 286 patients undergoing first ablation procedures for persistent AF with PVI only(n = 79), PVI plus linear ablation(n = 85), or PVI plus complex fractionated electrogram (CFAE) and linear ablation(n = 107) were followed. Primary end point was freedom from atrial arrhythmia at one year. Results: Mean duration of pre-procedure time in AF was 28+/-27 months.There were no differences in baseline characteristics between groups except a higher proportion of patients with a severely dilated LA in those receiving PVI+CFAEs+lines. Freedom from atrial arrhythmia was higher with a PVI+CFAE+lines strategy then for PVI alone (HR 1.56, 95% CI: 1.04-2.34, p=0.032) but was not higher with PVI+lines. Benefit of substrate modification was conferred for preprocedure times in AF of over 30 months. The occurrence of atrial tachycardia was higher when lines were added to the ablation strategy (HR 0.08, 95% CI: 0.01-0.59, p=0.014). Freedom from atrial arrhythmia at 1 year was higher with lower patient age, use of general anaesthetic (GA), normal or mildly dilated left atrium and decreasing time in AF. Conclusions: In patients with long standing persistent AF of over 30 months duration,CFAE ablation resulted in improved freedom from atrial arrhythmia. Increased freedom from atrial arrhythmia occurs in patients who are younger and have smaller atria, and with GA procedures. Linear ablation did not improve outcome and resulted in a higher incidence of atrial tachycardia.

Original publication




Journal article


J Atr Fibrillation

Publication Date





Ablation, Complex Fractionated Atrial Electrgrams., Persistent Atrial Fibrillation