Low complication rates using high power (45-50 W) for short duration for atrial fibrillation ablations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Many centers use radiofrequency (RF) energy at 25-35 W for 30-60 seconds. There is a safety concern about using higher power, especially on the posterior wall.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine complication rates for atrial fibrillation (AF) ablations performed with high-power, short-duration RF energy.

METHODS: We examined the complication rates of 4 experienced centers performing AF ablations at RF powers from 45-50 W for 2-15 seconds per lesion. In total, 13,974 ablations were performed in 10,284 patients. On the posterior wall, 11,436 ablations used 45-50 W for 2-10 seconds, and 2538 ablations used power reduced to 35 W for 20 seconds. Esophageal temperature monitoring was used in 13,858 (99.2%).

RESULTS: Demographics were age 64 ± 11 years, male 68%, left atrial size 4.4 ± 0.7 cm, paroxysmal AF 37%, persistent AF 42%, longstanding AF 20%, antiarrhythmic drugs failed 1.4 ± 0.7, hypertension 54%, diabetes 15%, previous cerebrovascular accident/transient ischemic attack 7%, and CHA2DS2-VASc score 2.1 ± 1.4. Procedural time was 116 ± 41 minutes. Complications were death in 2 (0.014%; 1 due to stroke and 1 due to atrioesophageal fistula), pericardial tamponade in 33 (0.24%; 26 tapped, 7 surgical), strokes <48 hours in 6 (0.043%), strokes 48 hours-30 days in 6 (0.043%), pulmonary vein stenosis requiring intervention in 2 (0.014%), phrenic nerve paralysis in 2 (0.014%; both resolved), steam pops 2 (0.014%) without complications, and catheter char 0 (0.00%). There was 1 atrioesophageal fistula in 11,436 ablations using power 45-50 W on the posterior wall and 3 in 2538 ablated with 35 W on the posterior wall (P = .021), although 2 of the 3 had no esophageal monitoring during a fluoroless procedure.

CONCLUSION: AF ablations can be performed at 45-50 W for short durations with very low complication rates. High-power, short-duration ablations have the potential to shorten procedural and total RF times and create more localized and durable lesions.

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