Anesthetic Choice for Atrial Fibrillation Ablation: A National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry Analysis

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2021 Sep;35(9):2600-2606. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2020.12.046. Epub 2021 Jan 5.


Objective: The authors evaluated the type of anesthesia administered in atrial fibrillation ablation, hypothesizing that monitored anesthesia care is used less frequently than general anesthesia.

Design: A retrospective study.

Setting: National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry data, which are multi-institutional from across the United States.

Participants: Adult patients who underwent elective atrial fibrillation ablation between 2013 and 2018.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry data were evaluated, and covariates were selected a priori within multivariate models to assess for predictors of anesthetic type. A total of 54,321 patients underwent atrial fibrillation ablation; 3,251 (6.0%) received monitored anesthesia care. Patients who received monitored anesthesia care were more likely to be >80 years old (12.4% v 4.9%; p < 0.0001), female (36.1% v 34.3%; p < 0.0001), have American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status >III (17.28% v 10.48%; p < 0.0001), and reside in urban areas (62.23% v 53.37%; p < 0.0001). They received care in the Northeast (17.6% v 10.1%; p < 0.0001) at low-volume centers (median 224 v 284 procedures; p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis revealed that each five-year increase in age, being female, and having an American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status >III resulted in a 7% (p < 0.0001), 9% (p = 0.032), and 200% (p < 0.0001) increased odds of receiving monitored anesthesia care, respectively. Requiring additional ablation of atria or of a second arrhythmia and residing outside the Northeast resulted in a decreased odds of monitored anesthesia care (adjusted odds ratio 0.24 [p=0.002] and < 0.5 [p < 0.03], respectively). For each 50 cases performed annually at a center, the odds decreased by 5% (p = 0.005).

Conclusions: General anesthesia is the most common type of anesthesia administered for atrial fibrillation ablation. The type of anesthesia administered, however, varies with patient, procedural, and hospital characteristics.

Keywords: anesthesia type; atrial fibrillation ablation; monitored anesthesia care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anesthetics*
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anesthetics