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A randomized prospective mechanistic cardiac magnetic resonance study correlating catheter stability, late gadolinium enhancement and 3 year clinical outcomes in robotically assisted vs. standard catheter ablation

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AIMS: To prospectively compare cardiac magnetic resonance late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) findings created by standard vs. robotically assisted catheter ablation lesions and correlate these with clinical outcomes.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Forty paroxysmal atrial fibrillation patients (mean age 54 ± 13.8 years) undergoing first left atrial ablation were randomized to either robotic-assisted navigation (Hansen Sensei(®) X) or standard navigation. Pre-procedural, acute (24 h post-procedure) and late (beyond 3 months) scans were performed with LGE and T2W imaging sequences and percentage circumferential enhancement around the pulmonary vein (PV) antra were quantified. Baseline pre-procedural enhancements were similar in both groups. On acute imaging, mean % encirclements by LGE and T2W signal were 72% and 80% in the robotic group vs. 60% (P = 0.002) and 76%(P = 0.45) for standard ablation. On late imaging, the T2W signal resolved to baseline in both groups. Late gadolinium enhancement remained the predominant signal with 56% encirclement in the robotic group vs. 45% in the standard group (P = 0.04). At 6 months follow-up, arrhythmia-free patients had an almost similar mean LGE encirclement (robotic 64%, standard 60%, P = 0.45) but in recurrences, LGE was higher in the robotic group (43% vs. 30%, P = 0.001). At mean 3 years follow-up, 1.3 procedures were performed in the robotic group compared with 1.9 (P < 0.001) in the standard to achieve a success rate of 80% vs. 75%.

CONCLUSION: Robotically assisted ablation results in greater LGE around the PV antrum. Effective lesions created through improved catheter stability and contact force during initial treatment may have a role in reducing subsequent re-do procedures.

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