A prospective multi-site registry of real-world experience of catheter ablation for treatment of symptomatic paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation (Real-AF): design and objectives

J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2021 Dec;62(3):487-494. doi: 10.1007/s10840-021-01031-w. Epub 2021 Jul 2.


Purpose: Catheter ablation has become a mainstay therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF) with rapid innovation over the past decade. Variability in ablation techniques may impact efficiency, safety, and efficacy; and the ideal strategy is unknown. Real-world evidence assessing the impact of procedural variations across multiple operators may provide insight into these questions. The Real-world Experience of Catheter Ablation for the Treatment of Symptomatic Paroxysmal (PAF) and Persistent (PsAF) Atrial Fibrillation registry (Real-AF) is a multicenter prospective registry that will enroll patients at high volume centers, including academic institutions and private practices, with operators performing ablations primarily with low fluoroscopy when possible. The study will also evaluate the contribution of advent in technologies and workflows to real-world clinical outcomes.

Methods: Patients presenting at participating centers are screened for enrollment. Data are collected at the time of procedure, 10-12 weeks, and 12 months post procedure and include patient and detailed procedural characteristics, with short and long-term outcomes. Arrhythmia recurrences are monitored through standard of care practice which includes continuous rhythm monitoring at 6 and 12 months, event monitors as needed for routine care or symptoms suggestive of recurrence, EKG performed at every visit, and interrogation of implanted device or ILR when applicable.

Results: Enrollment began in January 2018 with a single site. Additional sites began enrollment in October 2019. Through May 2021, 1,243 patients underwent 1,269 procedures at 13 institutions. Our goal is to enroll 4000 patients.

Discussion: Real-AF's multiple data sources and detailed procedural information, emphasis on high volume operators, inclusion of low fluoroscopy operators, and use of rigorous standardized follow-up methodology allow systematic documentation of clinical outcomes associated with changes in ablation workflow and technologies over time. Timely data sharing may enable real-time quality improvements in patient care and delivery. Trial registration Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT04088071 (registration date: September 12, 2019).

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Catheter ablation; Outcomes; Registry.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Registries
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04088071