Background: A high proportion of patients undergoing catheter ablation (CA) for atrial fibrillation (AF) experience recurrence of arrhythmia. This meta-analysis aims to identify pre-ablation serum biomarker(s) associated with arrhythmia recurrence to improve patient selection before CA. Methods: A systematic approach following PRISMA reporting guidelines was utilised in libraries (Pubmed/Medline, Embase, Web of Science, Scopus) and supplemented by scanning through bibliographies of articles. Biomarker levels were compared using a random-effects model and presented as odds ratio (OR). Heterogeneity was examined by meta-regression and subgroup analysis. Results: In total, 73 studies were identified after inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. Nine out of 22 biomarkers showed association with recurrence of AF after CA. High levels of N-Terminal-pro-B-type-Natriuretic Peptide [OR (95% CI), 3.11 (1.80–5.36)], B-type Natriuretic Peptide [BNP, 2.91 (1.74–4.88)], high-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein [2.04 (1.28–3.23)], Carboxy-terminal telopeptide of collagen type I [1.89 (1.16–3.08)] and Interleukin-6 [1.83 (1.18–2.84)] were strongly associated with identifying patients with AF recurrence. Meta-regression highlighted that AF type had a significant impact on BNP levels (heterogeneity R 2 = 55%). Subgroup analysis showed that high BNP levels were more strongly associated with AF recurrence in paroxysmal AF (PAF) cohorts compared to the addition of non-PAF patients. Egger’s test ruled out the presence of publication bias from small-study effects. Conclusion: Ranking biomarkers based on the strength of association with outcome provides each biomarker relative capacity to predict AF recurrence. This will provide randomised controlled trials, a guide to choosing a priori tool for identifying patients likely to revert to AF, which are required to substantiate these findings. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-691
Number of pages12
JournalClinical research in cardiology : official journal of the German Cardiac Society
Issue number6
Early online date9 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Catheter ablation
  • Meta-analysis
  • Outcomes research
  • Biomarker
  • Atrial fibrillation


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