Echocardiographic predictors of atrial fibrillation recurrence after catheter ablation: A literature review

Cardiol J. 2020;27(6):848-856. doi: 10.5603/CJ.a2018.0067. Epub 2018 Jun 20.


Background: Catheter ablation (CA) is a well-known treatment option for patients with symptomatic drug-resistant atrial fibrillation (AF). Multiple factors have been identified to determine AF recurrence after CA, however their predictive value is rather small. Identification of novel predictors of CA outcome is therefore of primary importance to reduce health costs and improve long-term results of intervention. The recurrence of AF following CA is related to severity of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, extent of atrial dilatation and fibrosis. The aim of this paper was to present and discuss the latest studies on the utility of echocardiographic parameters in terms of CA effectiveness in patients with paroxysmal and persistent AF.

Methods: PubMed, Google Scholar, EBSCO databases were searched for studies reporting echocardiographic preprocedural predictors of AF recurrence after CA. LV systolic and diastolic function, as well as atrial size, strain and dyssynchrony were taken into consideration.

Results: Twenty one full-text articles were analyzed, including three meta-analyses. Several echocardiographic parameters have been reported to determine a risk of AF recurrence after CA. There are conventional methods that measure left atrial size and volume, LV ejection fraction, parameters assessing LV diastolic dysfunction, and methods using more innovative technologies based on speckle tracking echocardiography to determine left atrial synchrony and strain. Each of these parameters has its own predictive value.

Conclusions: Regarding CA effectiveness, every patient has to be evaluated individually to estimate the risk of AF recurrence, optimally using a combination of several echocardiographic parameters.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; catheter ablation; echocardiography; predictors; pulmonary vein isolation; recurrence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart Atria / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Atria / surgery
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome