Catheter ablation of long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation: 5-year outcomes of the Hamburg Sequential Ablation Strategy

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012 Nov 6;60(19):1921-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.04.060. Epub 2012 Oct 10.


Objectives: This study describes the 5-year efficacy of catheter ablation for long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation (LS-AF).

Background: Long-term outcome data after catheter ablation for LS-AF are limited.

Methods: Long-term follow-up of 56 months (range 49 to 67 months) was performed in 202 patients (age 61 ± 9 years) who underwent the sequential ablation strategy for symptomatic LS-AF. Initial ablation strategy was circumferential pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). Additional ablation was performed only in acute PVI nonresponder, if direct current cardioversion failed after PVI.

Results: After the first ablation procedure, sinus rhythm was documented in 41 of 202 (20.3%) patients. After multiple procedures, sinus rhythm was maintained in 91 of 202 (45.0%) patients, including 24 patients receiving antiarrhythmic drugs. In 105 patients, PVI was the sole ablative therapy, 49 (46.7%) of those patients remained in sinus rhythm during follow-up. Patients with a total AF duration of <2 years had a significantly higher ablation success rate than patients whose AF duration was >2 years (76.5% vs. 42.2%, respectively; p = 0.033). Persistent AF duration (hazard ratio: 1.09 [95% confidence interval: 1.04 to 1.13]; p < 0.001) independently predicted arrhythmia recurrences, and acute PVI responders had a reduced risk of relapse (hazard ratio: 0.57 [95% confidence interval: 0.41 to 0.78]; p < 0.001) after the first ablation.

Conclusions: During 5-year follow-up, single- and multiple ablation procedure success was 20% and 45%, respectively, for patients with LS-AF. For patients with a total AF duration of <2 years, the outcomes were favorable.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Catheter Ablation / trends
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome