Diagnosis-to-ablation time predicts recurrent atrial fibrillation and rehospitalization following catheter ablation.



Wait times for catheter ablation in patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF) may influence clinical outcomes.


This study examined the relationship between the duration from AF diagnosis to ablation, or diagnosis-to-ablation time (DAT), on the clinical response to catheter ablation in a large nationwide cohort of patients.


We identified patients with new AF who underwent catheter ablation between January 2014 and December 2017 using the IBM MarketScan databases. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the strength of the association between DAT and the outcomes of AF recurrence and hospitalization at 1 year postablation.


Among 11,143 AF patients who underwent ablation, the median age was 59 years, 31% were female, and the median CHA2DS2-VASc score was 2. Median DAT was 5.5 (2.6, 13.1) months. At 1 year postablation, 10.0% (n = 1116) developed recurrent AF. For each year increase in DAT, the risk of AF recurrence increased by 20% after adjustment for baseline comorbidities and medications (hazard ratio [HR] 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11-1.30). A longer DAT was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization (HR 1.08 per DAT year, 95% CI 1.02-1.15). DAT was a stronger predictor of AF recurrence postablation than traditional clinical risk factors, including age, prior heart failure, or renal failure.


Increasing duration between AF diagnosis and catheter ablation is associated with higher AF recurrence rates and all-cause hospitalization. Our findings are consistent with a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of prioritizing early restoration of sinus rhythm.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Chew, Derek S, Kelley A Jones, Zak Loring, Eric Black-Maier, Peter A Noseworthy, Derek V Exner, Douglas L Packer, Jennifer Grant, et al. (2022). Diagnosis-to-ablation time predicts recurrent atrial fibrillation and rehospitalization following catheter ablation. Heart rhythm O2, 3(1). pp. 23–31. 10.1016/j.hroo.2021.11.012 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25524.

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Zak Loring

Assistant Professor of Medicine

I am a cardiac electrophysiologist specializing in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders and management of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs). My research utilizes signal processing of electrocardiographic data and novel analytic techniques to better phenotype patients and identify those for whom interventional electrophysiology procedures may be most beneficial. This includes predicting which patients with left bundle branch block may benefit from early cardiac resynchronization therapy or conduction system pacing. I also analyze population level data to identify patients at high risk for adverse sequelae of rhythm disorders who may benefit from early intervention.


Daniel Benjamin Mark

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Mark is a clinical cardiologist with the rank of Professor of Medicine (with tenure) as well as Vice Chief for Academic Affairs in the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. He is also the Director of Outcomes Research at the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He has been on the full-time faculty at Duke since 1985. Prior to that he completed his cardiology fellowship at Duke, his residency and internship at the University of Virginia Hospital, and received his medical degree from Tufts University and his Master’s degree from Harvard. In 1998, he was given the honor of being elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigators and in 2002 he was honored by election to the Association of American Physicians. These organizations are the two most prestigious honor societies in academic medicine. In 2009, Dr. Mark was awarded the American College of Cardiology Distinguished Scientist Award.

Dr. Mark's major research interests include medical economics and quality of life outcomes, outcomes research, and quality of medical care. Currently, Dr. Mark is directing a number of outcomes analyses for ongoing clinical trials including PROMISE (anatomic versus functional testing for coronary artery disease, NIH), CABANA (catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drug therapy for atrial fibrillation, NIH), ISCHEMIA (percutaneous coronary intervention versus optimal medical therapy for moderate-severe ischemia), and STICH (CABG +/- ventricular reconstruction versus medical therapy for ischemic heart disease, NIH). He was the principal author of the AHCPR Unstable Angina Guidelines and is a co-author of both the American College of Cardiology Guideline on Exercise Testing and their Coronary Stent Consensus Guideline. He is also the Editor of the American Heart Journal. Dr. Mark has published over 270 peer-reviewed articles, two books, and 80 book chapters. He lectures widely in the US, as well as in Canada, South America, and Europe.

Keywords: cost-effectiveness analysis, disease management, quality of life assessment, resource use.


Jonathan Paul Piccini

Professor of Medicine

Jonathan P. Piccini, MD, MHS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS is a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist and Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center and the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He is the Director of the Cardiac Electrophysiology section at the Duke Heart Center. His focus is on the care of patients with atrial fibrillation and complex arrhythmias, with particular emphasis on catheter ablation and lead extraction. His research interests include the development and evaluation of innovative cardiovascular interventions for the treatment heart rhythm disorders. He has served as the chairman for several national and international clinical trials and registries, including the American Heart Association-Get with the Guidelines Atrial Fibrillation program. He is an Associate Editor at JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Dr. Piccini has more than 550 publications in the field of heart rhythm medicine and has been the recipient of several teaching and mentorship awards.

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