Robotic magnetic navigation-guided catheter ablation establishes highly effective pulmonary vein isolation in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation when compared to conventional ablation techniques

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2023 Dec;34(12):2472-2483. doi: 10.1111/jce.16081. Epub 2023 Sep 28.


Introduction: Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is a pivotal part of ablative therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF). Currently, there are multiple techniques available to realize PVI, including: manual-guided cryoballoon (MAN-CB), manual-guided radiofrequency (MAN-RF), and robotic magnetic navigation-guided radiofrequency ablation (RMN-RF). There is a lack of large prospective trials comparing contemporary RMN-RF with the more conventional ablation techniques. This study prospectively compared three catheter ablation techniques as treatment of paroxysmal AF.

Methods: This multicenter, prospective study included patients with paroxysmal AF who underwent their first ablation procedure. Procedural parameters (including procedural efficiency), complication rates, and freedom of AF during 12-month follow-up, were compared between three study groups which were defined by the utilized ablation technique.

Results: A total of 221 patients were included in this study. Total procedure time was significantly shorter in MAN-CB (78 ± 21 min) compared to MAN-RF (115 ± 41 min; p < .001) and compared to RMN-RF (129 ± 32 min; p < .001), whereas it was comparable between the two radiofrequency (RF) groups (p = .062). A 3% complication rate was observed, which was comparable between all groups. At 12-month follow-up, AF recurrence was observed in 40 patients (19%) and was significantly lower in the robotic group (MAN-CB 19 [24%], MAN-RF 16 [23%], RMN-RF 5 [8%] AF recurrences, p = .045) (multivariate hazard ratio of RMN-RF on AF recurrence 0.32, 95% confidence interval: 0.12-0.87, p = .026).

Conclusion: RMN-guided PVI results in high freedom of AF in patients with paroxysmal AF, when compared to cryoablation and manual RF ablation. Cryoablation remains the most time-efficient ablation technique, whereas RMN nowadays has comparable efficiency with manual RF ablation.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; cryoablation; pulmonary vein isolation; radiofrequency ablation; remote magnetic navigation; robotic magnetic navigation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation* / methods
  • Cryosurgery* / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Phenomena
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Veins* / surgery
  • Recurrence
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*
  • Treatment Outcome