Death Rate After Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation 1 in 1,000
Most patients with atrial tachycardia recover left ventricular function after ablation
09 may 2009-- While most patients with focal atrial tachycardia recover left ventricular function after catheter ablation, 1 in 1,000 patients with atrial fibrillation die, according to two studies in the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
In the first study, Caroline Medi, from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues examined the characteristics and outcomes of 345 patients with focal atrial tachycardia, where 30 had tachycardia-mediated cardiomyopathy. They found that the frequency of incessant or very frequent paroxysmal tachycardia was much higher in patients with cardiomyopathy (100 versus 20 percent). Left ventricle function was restored in nearly all patients (97 percent) at a mean of three months after successful catheter ablation of the tachycardia focus.
In the second study, Riccardo Cappato, M.D., from Policlinico San Donato in Milan, Italy, and colleagues examined the incidence and causes of death in 32,569 patients who had undergone catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation. They found that 32 patients died (0.98 per 1,000 patients). The most common causes were tamponade, stroke, atrioesophageal fistula, and massive pneumonia.
"The data reported by Cappato et al. are of great clinical interest, and the authors should be congratulated for a contribution that will certainly raise awareness in the electrophysiologic community of the state of contemporary atrial fibrillation ablation," Bernard Belhassen, M.D., from Tel Aviv University in Israel writes in an accompanying editorial.
Several authors disclosed financial and consulting relationships with makers of ablation equipment and catheters, including Ablation Frontiers and Biosense Webster.