The suboptimal outcomes of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation have been attributed to lack of transmural lesions during pulmonary vein isolation. The advent of contact force (CF) sensing technology enables real-time assessment of the applied force at the catheter-tissue interface and increases the chances of transmural lesions. We sought to perform a meta-analysis of data from eligible studies to delineate the true impact of CF technology. Database searches through April 2015 identified 9 eligible studies (enrolling 1148 patients). The relative risk of AF recurrence at follow-up was used as the primary end point and assessed with random-effects meta-analysis. Radiofrequency (RF) duration, total procedure length, and fluoroscopy exposure were assessed as secondary outcomes using weighted mean difference with the random-effects model. Compared with standard technology, the use of CF technology showed a 37% reduction (relative risk 0.63; 95% confidence interval 0.44–0.91; P = .01) in AF recurrence at a median follow-up of 12 months and a 7.3-minute reduction (95% confidence interval −14.05 to −0.55; P = .03) in RF use during ablation. There was no significant difference in total procedure length and fluoroscopy exposure between the 2 groups. In conclusion, this meta-analysis shows that the use of CF technology decreases AF recurrence at a median follow-up of 12 months and also led to decreased use of RF during ablation. There was no difference in total procedure length and fluoroscopy exposure.
September 2015 Volume 12, Issue 9, Pages 1990–1996.