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ORIGINAL ARTICLE   

Minerva Cardioangiologica 2019 August;67(4):272-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4725.19.04877-1

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Ablation, rate or rhythm control strategies for patients with atrial fibrillation: how do they affect mid-term clinical outcomes?

Renato DE VECCHIS , Silvia SORECA, Carmelina ARIANO

Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation Unit, S. Gennaro dei Poveri Hospital, Naples, Italy



BACKGROUND: Transcatheter ablation (Abl) of atrial fibrillation (AF) is regarded as the best therapeutic solution for severely symptomatic patients, in whom at least one antiarrhythmic drug has been tested.
METHODS: In the present retrospective study, 175 cases of paroxysmal, persistent or long-lasting persistent AF have been gathered, and grouped depending on therapeutic approach: Abl, isolated or followed by chronic use of antiarrhythmics (N.=74), drug treatment for rate control strategy (N.=60), and drug treatment for rhythm control strategy (N.=41). The effects respectively exerted by the three treatment modalities on the primary endpoint, namely a composite of death, disabling stroke, severe bleeding and cardiac arrest, have been compared through a median follow-up of 20 months (interquartile range: 18-24 months) using the Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis. Further exposure variables were hypertension, the A-P diameter of the left atrium, the left ventricular ejection fraction and AF relapses.
RESULTS: The rhythm control strategy and AF recurrences during the follow-up were associated with increased risk of the primary composite endpoint as documented by the Cox model (for the former, hazard ratio [HR]: 3.3159; 95% CI: 1.5415 to 7.1329; P=0.0023; for the latter, HR: 1.0448; 95% CI: 1.0020 to 1.0895; P=0.0410). Even hypertension was associated with an increased risk (HR: 1.1040; 95% CI: 1.0112 to 1.9662; P=0.0477). On the contrary, a rate control strategy predicted a decreased risk of experiencing the primary endpoint (HR: 0.0711; 95% CI: 0.0135 to 0.3738; P=0.0019) while Abl did not exert a statistically significant effect on the same outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: AF ablation is able to decrease the arrhythmic episodes but does not offer a statistically significant protection against the composite of death, disabling stroke, severe bleeding and cardiac arrest in the mid-term follow-up.


KEY WORDS: Atrial fibrillation; Heart rate; Ablation techniques; Treatment outcome

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