July 30, 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich -- July 30, 3014 -- Adults who undergo a minimally invasive technique to treat atrial fibrillation (AF) are significantly less likely to die from a myocardial infarction (MI) or heart failure, according to a study published in the journal Heart Rhythm.

The study showed that cardiovascular mortality dropped by 60% among adults who had their normal heart rhythm restored through radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

“The study findings showed that the benefit of catheter ablation extends beyond improving quality of life for adults with atrial fibrillation,” said Hamid Ghanbari, MD, University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan. “If successful, ablation improves life span.”

For the study, the researchers evaluated the 10-year medical history of 3,058 adults who had RFA. Of the patients, 1,170 had paroxysmal AF and 1,170 had persistent AF.

The main purpose of the study was to determine whether sinus rhythm after RFA is associated with an improvement in the risk of cerebrovascular events (CVEs) and mortality during an extended follow-up.

Independent predictors of a higher arrhythmia burden after RFA were age (P = .003), left atrial diameter (P<.0001), and persistent AF (P< .0001). CVEs and cardiac and all-cause mortality occurred in 71 (2.3%), 33 (1.1%), and 111 (3.6%), respectively.

Sinus rhythm after RFA was associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiac mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.41; P = .015). There was not a significant reduction in all-cause mortality (HR, 0.86; P = .48) or CVEs (HR, 0.79; P = .34) in patients who remained in sinus rhythm after RFA.

In the study, even older patients and those with diabetes, a history of stroke and heart disease, sleep apnoea, and low ejection fraction gained the cardiovascular survival benefits of ablation.

SOURCE: University of Michigan

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