Objectives: We conducted this study to compare the efficacy and safety of different catheter ablation technologies and of distal versus ostial pulmonary veins (PV) isolation using the circular mapping technique.
Background: Electrical isolation of the PVs in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) remains a technical challenge.
Methods: Two hundred eleven patients (163 men; mean age 53 +/- 11 years) with symptomatic AF were included in this study. In the first 21 patients (group 1), distal isolation (> or = 5 mm from the ostium) was achieved targeting veins triggering AF. In the remaining 190 patients (group 2), ostial isolation of all PVs was performed using 4-mm tip (47 patients), 8-mm tip (21 patients), or cooled-tip (122 patients) ablation catheters.
Results: Distal isolation was able to eliminate premature atrial contractions (PACs) and AF in six of 21 patients (29%) and 10 of 34 PVs. After a mean follow-up time of 6 +/- 4 months, no patients treated with the 8-mm tip catheter experienced recurrence of AF, whereas 21% (10 of 47 patients) and 15% (18 of 122 patients) of the patients ablated with the 4-mm tip and the cooled-tip ablation catheters experienced recurrence of AF after a mean follow-up of 10 +/- 3 and 4 +/- 2 months, respectively. Significant complications including stroke, tamponade, and severe stenosis occurred in 3.5% (8/211) of patients.
Conclusions: Catheter technologies designed to achieve better lesion size appeared to have a positive impact on procedure time, fluoroscopy time, number of lesions, and overall efficacy. Although distal isolation can be achieved with fewer lesions, ostial isolation is required in the majority of patients to eliminate arrhythmogenic PACs and AF.