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Europace. 2010 Jan;12(1):30-6. doi: 10.1093/europace/eup320.

Efficacy of circumferential pulmonary vein ablation of atrial fibrillation in endurance athletes.

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  • 1Cardiology Department, Thorax Institute (ICT), Hospital Clínic, Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, Villarroel 170, Barcelona 08036, Catalonia, Spain.



Long-term endurance sport practice has been increasingly recognized as a risk factor for lone atrial fibrillation (AF). However, data on the outcome of circumferential pulmonary vein ablation (CPVA) in endurance athletes are scarce. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of CPVA in AF secondary to endurance sport practice.


Patients submitted to CPVA answered a questionnaire about lifetime history of endurance sport practice. Endurance athletes were defined as those who engaged in >3 h per week of high-intensity exercise for at least the 10 years immediately preceding their AF diagnosis. A series of 182 consecutive patients was included (51 +/- 11 years, 65% with paroxysmal AF, 81% men, 42 +/- 6 mm mean left atrial diameter); 107 (59%) patients had lone AF, and 42 of them (23% of the study population) were classified as endurance athletes (lone AF sport group). Freedom from arrhythmia after a single CPVA was similar in the lone AF sport group compared with the remaining patients (P = 0.446). Left atrial size and long-standing AF were the only independent predictors for arrhythmia recurrence after ablation.


Circumferential pulmonary vein ablation was as effective in AF secondary to endurance sport practice as in other aetiologies of AF.

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