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Tex Heart Inst J. 2012;39(3):372-9.

Effect of substrate modification in catheter ablation of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: pulmonary vein isolation alone or with complex fractionated electrogram ablation.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea.


Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation that targets complex fractionated electrogram sites has been widely applied in the management of persistent atrial fibrillation. The clinical outcomes of pulmonary vein isolation alone and pulmonary vein isolation plus the use of complex fractionated electrogram-guided ablation (CFEA) have not been fully compared in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.This prospective study included 70 patients with symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation that remained inducible after pulmonary vein isolation. For radio-frequency catheter ablation, patients were nonrandomly assigned to a control group (pulmonary vein isolation alone, Group 1, n=35) or a CFEA group (pulmonary vein isolation plus additional CFEA, Group 2, n=35). The times to first recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmias were compared between the 2 groups.In Group 2, CFEA rendered atrial fibrillation noninducible in 16 patients (45.7%) and converted inducible atrial fibrillation into inducible atrial flutters in 12 patients (34.3%). Atrial fibrillation remained inducible in 7 patients (20%) after the combined ablation procedures. After a mean follow-up of 23 months, freedom from recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmias was significantly higher in Group 2 than in Group 1 (P=0.037). In Group 1, all of the recurrent tachyarrhythmias were atrial fibrillation, whereas regular tachycardia was the major mechanism of recurrent arrhythmias in Group 2 (atrial tachycardia or atrial flutter in 5 of 6 patients and atrial fibrillation in 1 patient).We found that CFEA after pulmonary vein isolation significantly reduced recurrent atrial tachyarrhythmia and might modify the pattern of arrhythmia recurrence in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.


Atrial fibrillation; atrial flutter; catheter ablation; electrophysiologic techniques, cardiac/methods; heart conduction system/surgery; prospective studies; pulmonary veins/innervation; recurrence; tachycardia

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