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Circulation. 2004 Jan 27;109(3):327-34. Epub 2004 Jan 5.

Pulmonary vein denervation enhances long-term benefit after circumferential ablation for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, San Raffaele University Hospital, Via Olgettina 60, 20132, Milan, Italy.



There are no data to evaluate the relationship between autonomic nerve function modification and recurrent atrial fibrillation (AF) after circumferential pulmonary vein ablation (CPVA). This study assesses the incremental benefit of vagal denervation by radiofrequency in preventing recurrent AF in a large series of patients undergoing CPVA for paroxysmal AF.


Data were collected on 297 patients undergoing CPVA for paroxysmal AF. Abolition of all evoked vagal reflexes around all pulmonary vein ostia was defined as complete vagal denervation (CVD) and was obtained in 34.3% of patients. Follow-up ended at 12 months. Heart rate variability attenuation, consistent with vagal withdrawal, was detectable for up to 3 months after CPVA, particularly in patients with reflexes and CVD, who were less likely to have recurrent AF than those without reflexes (P=0.0002, log-rank test). Only the percentage area of left atrial isolation and CVD were predictors of AF recurrence after CPVA (P<0.001 and P=0.025, respectively).


This study suggests that adjunctive CVD during CPVA significantly reduces recurrence of AF at 12 months.

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