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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2007 Dec;18(12):1289-95. Epub 2007 Oct 5.

Preliminary results of a limited thoracotomy: new approach to treat atrial fibrillation.

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Oregon Heart and Vascular Institute and Oregon Cardiology, Eugene, Oregon, USA.



To determine efficacy of a new procedure combining epicardial bipolar radiofrequency (RF) pulmonary vein (PV) antrum isolation and ganglionated plexus (GP) ablation for treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF).


PV antrum electrical isolation and GP ablation have each been associated with elimination of AF. Both of these can be performed epicardially in a single combined surgical procedure, which may have advantages over endocardial ablation.


Twenty-one subjects entered a prospective evaluation of limited thoracotomy epicardial bipolar PV antrum isolation, verified by PV recordings, with GP ablation, guided by GP mapping. Procedural success was defined as freedom from AF and antiarrhythmic agents during 1 year of follow-up, including evaluation by prolonged continuous monitoring capable of detecting asymptomatic arrhythmias. All subjects had recordable PV potentials and GP activity prior to ablation. Circumferential epicardial bipolar RF eliminated PV potentials in 18 of 20 right and 14 of 20 left PV antra. This concurrently eliminated 79% of GP activity (125 of 159 active sites); nearly all remaining GP activity could then be eliminated using epicardial bipolar RF forceps. Fifteen of 20 (75%) subjects overall, and 14 of 16 (87.5%) subjects with paroxysmal or persistent AF had a successful procedure.


Limited thoracotomy epicardial bipolar RF antrum isolation, verified by PV recordings, with GP ablation, guided by GP mapping, is effective treatment for AF and should be considered in patients with paroxysmal or persistent AF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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