Aims: Obesity decreases arrhythmia-free survival after atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation by mechanisms that are not fully understood. We investigated the impact of pre-ablation bariatric surgery (BS) on AF recurrence after ablation.
Methods and results: In this retrospective observational cohort study, 239 consecutive morbidly obese patients (body mass index ≥40 kg/m2 or ≥35 kg/m2 with obesity-related complications) were followed for a mean of 22 months prior to ablation. Of these patients, 51 had BS prior to ablation, and our primary outcome was whether BS was associated with a lower rate of AF recurrence during follow-up. Adjustment for confounding was performed with multivariable Cox proportional hazard models and propensity-score based analyses. During a mean follow-up of 36 months after ablation, 10/51 patients (20%) in the BS group had recurrent AF compared with 114/188 (61%) in the non-BS group (P < 0.0001). In the BS group, 6 patients (12%) underwent repeat ablation compared with 77 patients (41%) in the non-BS group, (P < 0.0001). On multivariable analysis, the association between BS and lower AF recurrence remained significant. Similarly, after weighting and adjusting for the inverse probability of the propensity score, BS was still associated with a lower hazard of AF recurrence (hazard ratio 0.14, 95% confidence interval 0.05-0.39; P = 0.002).
Conclusion: Bariatric surgery is associated with a lower AF recurrence after ablation. Morbidly obese patients should be considered for BS prior to AF ablation, though prospective multicentre studies should be performed to confirm our novel finding.
Keywords: Ablation; Atrial fibrillation; Bariatric surgery; Obesity.
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