Good News for AF Patients With Leaky Heart Valves?

Journal Wrap | Atrial fibrillation (AF) patients who received cardiac ablation to correct a leaky heart valve during surgery were less likely to experience additional AF episodes after one year, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers conducted a randomized 1:1 trial to assess the benefits of ablation in AF patients with a leaky valve undergoing mitral valve surgery. Author A. Marc Gillinov, MD, and his colleagues studied 260 persistent or long-standing persistent AF patients from the Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network. Participants received either mitral valve surgery with surgical ablation or mitral valve surgery alone.

Results showed that 63% of patients who received mitral valve surgery plus ablation were free from AF 1 year after surgery, versus 29% of patients who received surgery alone. Patients who received ablation were more likely to require a pacemaker than those who had valve surgery alone. However, those who had surgery alone described a lower quality of life, as they still experienced daily AF.

“I think what this shows is that, in the mitral valve surgery patient who has persistent atrial fibrillation, you will achieve better rhythm control by performing ablation, without any increase in mortality or other adverse cardiac events,” Gillinov said. “Although surgeons are widely performing ablation at the time of mitral valve surgery, there is a great deal of variation with regard to when it is done, how it is done and which patients receive it,” said Gillinov. “We sought to conduct a well-designed randomized controlled trial to answer fundamental questions about whether this procedure is successful and how it is best done.”


Gillinov AM, Gelijns AC, Parides MK, et al. N Engl J Med. 2015;10.1056/NEJMoa1500528.

Clinical Topics: Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Cardiac Surgery, Invasive Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention, SCD/Ventricular Arrhythmias, Atrial Fibrillation/Supraventricular Arrhythmias, Cardiac Surgery and Arrhythmias

Keywords: CardioSource WorldNews Interventions, ACC Publications, Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiac Surgical Procedures, Catheter Ablation, Mitral Valve, Pacemaker, Artificial, Surgeons


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