Pulmonary Vein Reconnection No Longer Occurs in the Majority of Patients After a Single Pulmonary Vein Isolation Procedure


Objectives: This study sought to determine the prevalence of patients with 4 isolated veins at repeat ablation after “CLOSE” -guided pulmonary vein isolation (PVI), a strategy based on delivery of contiguous and optimized radiofrequency lesions.

Background: The likelihood of finding 4 isolated veins at a repeat ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence after a first PVI is low.

Methods: Patients undergoing repeat ablation for AF recurrence after first CLOSE-guided PVI were included. At repeat, 1) the status of the PV was evaluated and 2) high-density voltage mapping was performed. In case of pulmonary vein reconnection (PVR), veins were reisolated. In patients with 4 isolated veins, empirical trigger or substrate ablation was performed.

Results: Of 326 patients undergoing CLOSE-guided PVI for paroxysmal AF, 45 patients underwent repeat ablation for AF recurrence (11 ± 7 months after first PVI). In 28 patients, all veins were still isolated (62%). They showed similar clinical characteristics and similar time from first PVI to AF recurrence (8 ± 7 vs. 6 ± 6 months, respectively, p = 0.453) compared with patients with PVR. In contrast, they were characterized by a higher incidence of low voltage (57% vs. 17%, p = 0.033). Patients with 4 isolated veins, compared with patients treated for PVR, showed a lower 12-month freedom from AF after repeat ablation (61% vs. 88%, p = 0.045).

Conclusions: After CLOSE-guided ablation, PVR is no longer the rule in patients with AF recurrence. Patients with AF recurrence and 4 isolated veins present with a similar clinical profile and time to recurrence as patients with PVR.

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De Pooter J, Strisciuglio T, El Haddad M, et al. JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2019;5:295–305.