Introduction: Contact force (CF) guided ablation of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) with stable catheter-tissue contact optimizes clinical success and may increase an operator's ability to achieve pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) in a single encirclement. First pass PVI reduces procedure time but the relationship with long term clinical success is not well understood. This study evaluated patient characteristics and procedural details as predictors of 1-year clinical success after PAF ablation, including first pass isolation.
Methods: Consecutive de novo PAF ablations were performed with a porous tip CF catheter in 2017 and 2018. All ablations used wide-area circumferential ablation, with first pass isolation captured separately for the left and right pulmonary veins (PVs). CF was held between 10 and 20 g and the catheter was moved every 10-20 s. Radiofrequency energy was set at 40-45 W throughout the atrium. Patient characteristics and procedural details were tested for association with clinical success, defined as freedom from recurrent atrial tachyarrhythmia through 1 year.
Results: A total of 404 patients were included in the study. Clinical success at 1 year was 86.6%. Achieving first pass isolation on at least one ipsilateral PV pair was the most significant predictor of clinical success (p = .0126). After controlling for first pass isolation, only recurrence within the 90-day blanking period was independently predictive (p = .0015). First pass isolation was not associated with early recurrence (p = .2454).
Conclusion: In a real-world setting, first pass isolation was highly predictive of 12-month clinical success after CF-guided ablation in a PAF population.
Keywords: ablation; atrial fibrillation; contact force; first pass isolation; paroxysmal atrial fibrillation; pulmonary vein isolation.
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