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The impact of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation in heart failure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of arrhythmia
Issue number1
Early online date3 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

King's Authors


Atrial fibrillation (AF) commonly co-exists with systolic heart failure (SHF) and its presence is associated with a worse prognosis. Despite this, a rhythm control approach using antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) to reduce AF burden has demonstrated no prognostic benefit. Catheter ablation (AFA) is more effective than AADs at reducing AF burden. We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the impact of AFA on outcomes in SHF. Electronic databases were systematically searched. We included only randomized controlled trials that examined the impact of AFA on clinical outcomes in patients with SHF (LVEF <50%). We included studies with any ablation strategy that incorporated pulmonary vein isolation and any control group. Seven studies (n = 858) were included with a mean follow-up of 6-38 months. In comparison to controls, AFA was associated with significant reductions in all-cause mortality (relative risk [RR] 0.52, P = 0.0009) and unplanned or heart failure hospitalization (RR 0.58, P < 0.00001). Compared to controls, AFA was also associated with significant improvements in LVEF (mean difference 6.30%, P < 0.00001), Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire score (mean difference 9.58, P = 0.0003), 6-minute walk distance (mean difference 31.78 m, P = 0.003) and VO 2 max (mean difference 3.17, P = 0.003). However, major procedure-related complications occurred in 2.4%-15% of ablation patients. In patients with AF and SHF, catheter ablation has significant benefits. Further work is needed to establish the role of ablation in the routine treatment of SHF patients with AF.

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