Home > Journals > The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness > Past Issues > Articles online first > The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Dec 21



To subscribe
Submit an article
Recommend to your librarian


Publication history
Cite this article as



The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Dec 21

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.13257-8


language: English

Long-term efficacy and impact on quality of life of atrial fibrillation catheter ablation in competitive athletes

Elisabetta TOSO 1, 2 , Marco GAGLIARDI 1, Mattia PEYRACCHIA 1, Filippo ANGELINI 1, Matteo ANSELMINO 1, Federico FERRARIS 1, Carla GIUSTETTO 1, Marco SCAGLIONE 3, Fiorenzo GAITA 1, 2

1 Cardiology Division, Department of Medical Sciences, AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Cardiology Consultant at Juventus Football Club, Turin, Italy; 3 Cardiology Division, Cardinal Massaia Hospital of Asti, Asti, Italy


BACKGROUND: Limited data are available on the efficacy of catheter ablation (CA) for sport-associated atrial fibrillation (AF), in particular at long term follow up. Moreover, the impact of AF CA on quality of life (QoL) in this population remains unknown. We aimed to determine AF CA efficacy in athletes, to assess the impact on athletes’ QoL (with SF36 score) and on training capabilities in a long term follow up (FU).
METHODS: A total of 1215 AF patients’ candidates to CA between January 2007 and December 2012, were retrospectively screened. Athletes were defined as patients performing ≥ 5h/week of vigorous sports, achieving a total of ≥1500 h lifetime sports activity, for at least one year before AF first symptomatic episode.
RESULTS: Out of 1215 AF patients, 133 were considered competitive athletes and underwent to CA. Overall, 43% of our cohort showed typical or atypical atrial flutter, which required a more extensive ablation procedure. Before AF, athletes used to practice for a mean of 8.5±2.7 h/week, while after the first AF episode the mean practice duration decreased to 2.82.5 h/week. At 10-year follow up, 83% of athletes did not present any recurrent event, and training capabilities increased up to 5.6±3.6 h/week after the procedure. Moreover, intense physical activity before AF CA was related to longterm
AF recurrence rates (P = 0.05). QoL scores significantly improved in each single domains (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: AF CA represents an effective procedure to maintain sinus rhythm in athletes, with a significant improvement in QoL.

KEY WORDS: Atrial fibrillation; Catheter ablation; Athletes; Sport

top of page