Evaluation of a Strategy Aiming to Enclose the Pulmonary Veins With Contiguous and Optimized Radiofrequency Lesions in Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: A Pilot Study


OBEJCTIVE: This study sought to evaluate the safety and the acute and 1 year outcomes of an ablation protocol aiming to enclose the PV with a contiguous and optimized RF circle by targeting region-specific criteria for lesion depth assessed by ablation index and interlesion distance.

BACKGROUND: Reconnections after pulmonary vein (PV) isolation are explained by insufficient lesion depth and/or discontiguity of radiofrequency (RF) lesions.

METHODS: A total of 130 consecutive patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) underwent PV encircling using a contact force–sensing catheter. RF was delivered targeting interlesion distance ≤6 mm and ablation index ≥400 at posterior wall and ≥550 at anterior wall. Recurrence was defined as any AF, atrial tachycardia (AT), or atrial flutter (AFL) (AF/AT/AFL >30 s) on Holter electrocardiographs at 3, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS: Procedure and RF time per circle were 155 ± 28 min and 17 ± 5 min, respectively. Incidence of first-pass and adenosine-proof isolation were 98% and 98%, respectively. One short-lived transient ischemic attack was observed. At 12 months, single-procedure freedom from AF/AT/AFL was 91.3% in those 104 patients off antiarrhythmic drug therapy and 96.2% in those 26 patients on antiarrhythmic drug therapy. Single-procedure freedom from both AF/AT/AFL and antiarrhythmic drug therapy was 73.1%.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that an ablation protocol respecting strict criteria for lesion depth and contiguity results in acute durable PV isolation followed by a high single-procedure arrhythmia-free survival at 1 year. A prospective, multicenter trial is ongoing.

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Taghji P, El Haddad M, Phlips T, et al. JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2018;4:99–108.