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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012 Nov 6;60(19):1921-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.04.060. Epub 2012 Oct 10.

Catheter ablation of long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation: 5-year outcomes of the Hamburg Sequential Ablation Strategy.

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Department of Cardiology, Asklepios Klinik St. Georg, Lohmuehlenstrasse 5, Hamburg, Germany.



This study describes the 5-year efficacy of catheter ablation for long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation (LS-AF).


Long-term outcome data after catheter ablation for LS-AF are limited.


Long-term follow-up of 56 months (range 49 to 67 months) was performed in 202 patients (age 61 ± 9 years) who underwent the sequential ablation strategy for symptomatic LS-AF. Initial ablation strategy was circumferential pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). Additional ablation was performed only in acute PVI nonresponder, if direct current cardioversion failed after PVI.


After the first ablation procedure, sinus rhythm was documented in 41 of 202 (20.3%) patients. After multiple procedures, sinus rhythm was maintained in 91 of 202 (45.0%) patients, including 24 patients receiving antiarrhythmic drugs. In 105 patients, PVI was the sole ablative therapy, 49 (46.7%) of those patients remained in sinus rhythm during follow-up. Patients with a total AF duration of <2 years had a significantly higher ablation success rate than patients whose AF duration was >2 years (76.5% vs. 42.2%, respectively; p = 0.033). Persistent AF duration (hazard ratio: 1.09 [95% confidence interval: 1.04 to 1.13]; p < 0.001) independently predicted arrhythmia recurrences, and acute PVI responders had a reduced risk of relapse (hazard ratio: 0.57 [95% confidence interval: 0.41 to 0.78]; p < 0.001) after the first ablation.


During 5-year follow-up, single- and multiple ablation procedure success was 20% and 45%, respectively, for patients with LS-AF. For patients with a total AF duration of <2 years, the outcomes were favorable.

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