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Am J Cardiol. 2004 Jan 15;93(2):165-70.

Comparison of left atrial volume and function after linear ablation and after cardioversion for chronic atrial fibrillation.

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  • 1Westmead Hospital, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.


Several techniques for treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) have been developed, including the direct placement of radiofrequency for lesions at open heart surgery. Detailed evaluation of left atrial (LA) function has not been performed after these procedures and has not been compared in patients with chronic AF. We compared the atrial function of patients with sustained sinus rhythm (SR) after linear ablation with a group who underwent direct-current cardioversion and a group of normal controls to investigate the measurable deleterious effects, if any, on atrial function after the surgical procedure. Twenty-one consecutive patients who had maintained SR for >6 months after a linear radiofrequency ablation (LRFA) procedure were studied. As control subjects, we examined 33 patients with chronic AF successfully restored to SR by cardioversion who maintained SR for >6 months and 42 age-matched normal subjects. LA function was decreased in both the LRFA and cardioverted AF groups compared with normal controls. The parameters of LA function, atrial fraction, LA ejection fraction, and the A' velocity were lowest in the LRFA group, intermediate in the cardioverted AF group, and highest in the normal controls (LA function: 15.8 +/- 10%, 26 +/- 10%, 33 +/- 7%; p = 0.0001; LA ejection fraction: 31 +13%, 41 +/- 12%, 51 +/- 9%; p = 0.0001; A' velocity: 4.2 +/- 1.4, 7.6 +/- 2.2, 9.5 +/- 1.9 cm/s; p = 0.0001). LA volumes were increased in the LRFA and cardioverted AF groups compared with normals (62.8 +/- 22 vs 70.6 +/- 17 vs 38.7 +/- 9.8 ml; p = 0.0001). Thus, although LA function is restored and maintained after LRFA has been performed during open heart surgery, LRFA use is associated with a measurable decrease in LA function over and above that found after conventional cardioversion.

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