Effectiveness of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation according to heart failure etiology.



Catheter ablation is an important rhythm control therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) with concomitant heart failure (HF). The objective of this study was to assess the comparative efficacy of AF ablation patients with ischemic vs nonischemic heart failure.


We conducted a retrospective, observational cohort study of patients with HF who underwent AF ablation. Outcomes were compared based on HF etiology and included in-hospital events, symptoms (Mayo AF Symptom Inventory [MAFSI]), and functional status (New York Heart Association class) and freedom from atrial arrhythmias at 12 months.


Among 242 patients (n = 70 [29%] ischemic, n = 172 [71%] nonischemic), patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy were younger (mean age 64 ± 11.5 vs 69 ± 9.1, P = .002), more often female (36% vs 17%, P = .004), and had higher mean left-ventricular ejection fraction (47% vs 42%, P = .0007). There were no significant differences in periprocedural characteristics, including mean procedure time (243 ± 74.2 vs 259 ± 81.8 minutes, P = .1) and nonleft atrial ablation (17% vs 20%, P = .6). All-cause adverse events were similar in each group (15% vs 17%, P = .7). NYHA and MAFSI scores improved significantly at follow-up and did not differ according to HF etiology (P = .5; P = .10-1.00 after Bonferroni correction). There were no significant differences in freedom from recurrent atrial arrhythmia at 12-months between ischemic (74%) and nonischemic patients (78%): adjusted RR 0.63, 95% confidence interval 0.33-1.19.


Catheter ablation in patients with AF and concomitant heart failure leads to significant improvements in functional and symptom status without significant differences between patients with ischemic vs nonischemic HF etiology.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Black-Maier, Eric, Benjamin A Steinberg, Kevin M Trulock, Frances Wang, Yuliya Lokhnygina, Wanda O'Neal, Sana Al-Khatib, Brett D Atwater, et al. (2020). Effectiveness of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation according to heart failure etiology. Journal of arrhythmia, 36(1). pp. 84–92. 10.1002/joa3.12291 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30480.

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Yuliya Vladimirovna Lokhnygina

Associate Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Statistical methods in clinical trials, survival analysis, adaptive designs, adaptive treatment strategies, causal inference in observational studies, semiparametric inference


Sana Mustapha Al-Khatib

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Sana M. Al-Khatib is a tenured Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, a board-certified clinical electrophysiologist and an experienced clinical researcher in cardiac arrhythmias.  She is currently the Director of the Fellowship Program at the Duke Clinical Research Institute.  As a graduate of the NIH-funded Clinical Research Training Program, she is one of a few electrophysiologists nationwide with expertise in quantitative research methods. Her clinical expertise is in sudden cardiac death prevention, atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmias, and implantable cardiac devices. Her research expertise lies in the design and conduct of clinical trials, outcomes research, and cost-effectiveness analyses. She is a recipient of a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s R-01 grant titled “Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Therapy in Patients with Heart Failure” (2009-2013) and of an American Heart Association Career Development Award (2002-2006). She is a Co-Principal Investigator on an NHLBI-funded T-32 Postdoctoral Training in Cardiovascular Clinical Research and is a co-investigator on several NIH-funded projects. She has more than 350 publications in peer-reviewed journals. She has established several collaborative research efforts both within and outside her institution. The goals of these collaborations are to synergize efforts aimed at improving the survival and quality of life of patients at risk for sudden cardiac death and those with atrial and ventricular arrhythmias through clinical trials and outcomes-based research and to evaluate study design and data analysis in order to improve the quality of research done in these arenas. Dr. Al-Khatib is a Senior Associate Editor for Circulation and is on the Editorial Board for Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, Heart Rhythm, Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, JACC:EP, the Cardiovascular Digital Health Journal, and the American Heart Journal. Dr. Al-Khatib has served on multiple national committees including the Heart Rhythm Society Board of Trustees (current), the Heart Rhythm Society Finance Committee (current), the Heart Rhythm Society Audit Committee (current), the Heart Rhythm Society Health Policy committee (past), the Heart Rhythm Society Legislative subcommittee (past), and the Heart Rhythm Society Program Planning committee (past). She chaired the 2017 AHA/ACC/HRS Guideline for the Management of Patients with Ventricular Arrhythmias and the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death. 

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