INTRODUCTION: A technique was developed to eliminate radiation exposure for routine atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation, to simplify the procedure and to achieve cost effectiveness. We here report the outcomes of this approach.
METHODS: Two hundred consecutive AF ablations (55% paroxysmal) were performed by a single operator. Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) was achieved by antral ablation without left atrial anatomic mapping, guided by contact force sensing and intracardiac echocardiogram (ICE). All ablations were performed using three ipsilateral 8 French catheters (ICE, Lasso, and ablation). Eighty‐two percent of the patients underwent ablation of atrial flutter or non‐pulmonary vein triggers. All patients underwent provocative testing after PVI.
Results: No fluoroscopy was used for the entire study. Two ablations were performed without x‐ray available due to unexpected equipment failure. The mean procedure time was 90.3 ± 17.7 (minutes) in patients who only required PVI and 106.2 ± 23.2 (minutes) for the entire cohort, with a success rate of 76% (mean follow up of 11 months). In contrast, the procedure time and success rate were 127.9 ± 38.2 (minutes) (P < 0.01) and 74%, respectively, for the last 50 standard ablations guided by fluoroscopy (without contact force sensing). Complications included one case of partial right phrenic nerve palsy and one case of right femoral artery pesudoaneurysm. Compared to our previous ablation approaches, the new method resulted in catheter savings of $2,168–$4,568/case.
CONCLUSION: The new technique eliminated radiation exposure and shortened the procedure time without significant negative impact on safety or success rate. Substantial cost savings were also achieved by using a minimal number of mostly reprocessed catheters.