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J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2012 Dec;35(3):259-75. doi: 10.1007/s10840-012-9723-0. Epub 2012 Oct 3.

Comparative effectiveness of catheter ablation strategies for rhythm control in patients with atrial fibrillation: a meta-analysis.

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Programs for Assessment of Technology in Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8P 1H1.



Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) forms the basis of catheter ablation strategies for atrial fibrillation (AF). Ablation of additional sites has been used to increase the efficacy of ablation procedures in restoring and maintaining normal sinus rhythm.


The aim of this paper was to compare the effectiveness of PVI versus PVI plus adjuvant atrial ablations (PVI+) in patients with AF.


A systematic search using bibliographic databases and gray literature was undertaken. Randomized and non-randomized controlled trials evaluating clinical efficacy, effectiveness, or safety of ablation procedures in adults with AF were included in this review.


Of 3,204 potential citations identified by the original search, 21 randomized controlled trials and three non-randomized trials were included. Meta-analysis results reveal that in the first year after ablation, AF patients who underwent PVI+ strategies had a significantly higher rate of maintaining sinus rhythm than those who underwent PVI alone (RR 1.10, 95 % CI 1.02, 1.17). However, a subgroup meta-analysis was statistically significant for only PVI+ left atrial (LA) linear ablations (RR 1.16, 95 % CI 1.04, 1.29). The pooled success rates were higher in PVI+ group for both paroxysmal (RR 1.14, 95 % CI 1.06, 1.24) and non-paroxysmal AF (RR 1.53, 95 % CI 1.10, 2.14).


PVI+ strategies, particularly PVI+ LA ablations, appear to result in higher success rates than PVI alone in the first year after the procedure. Studies of longer duration are needed to evaluate the long-term benefits and safety of different adjunctive ablation approaches for rhythm control in AF patients.

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