AIMS: This study evaluates the efficacy and safety of first-line single-stage hybrid ablation of (long-standing) persistent atrial fibrillation (AF), over a follow-up period of 2 years, and provides additional information on arrhythmia recurrences and electrophysiological findings at repeat ablation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: This is a prospective cohort study that included 49 patients (65% persistent AF; 35% long-standing persistent AF) who underwent hybrid ablation as first-line ablation treatment (no previous endocardial ablation). Patients were relatively young (57.0 ± 8.5 years) and predominantly male (89.8%). Median CHA2DS2-VASc score was 1.0 (0.5; 2.0) and mean left atrium volume index was 43.7 ± 10.9 mL/m2. Efficacy was assessed by 12-lead electrocardiography and 72-h Holter monitoring after 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. Recurrence was defined as AF/atrial flutter (AFL)/tachycardia (AT) recorded by electrocardiography or Holter monitoring lasting >30 s during 2-year follow-up. At 2-year follow-up, single and multiple procedure success rates were 67% and 82%, respectively. Two (4%) patients experienced a major complication (bleeding) requiring intervention following hybrid ablation. Among the 16 (33%) patients who experienced an AF/AFL/AT recurrence, 13 (81%) were ATs/AFLs and only 3 (19%) were AF. Repeat ablation was performed in 10 (20%) patients and resulted in sinus rhythm in 7 (70%) at 2-year follow-up.
CONCLUSION: First-line single-stage hybrid AF ablation is an effective treatment strategy for patients with persistent and long-standing persistent AF with an acceptable rate of major complications. Recurrences are predominantly AFL/AT that can be successfully ablated percutaneously. Hybrid ablation seems a feasible approach for first-line ablation of (long-standing) persistent AF.