Vol 21, No 4 (2014)
Original articles
Published online: 2014-08-29

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Does a blanking period after pulmonary vein isolation impact long-term results? Results after 55 months of follow-up

Piotr Lodziński, Marek Kiliszek, Edward Koźluk, Agnieszka Piątkowska, Paweł Balsam, Janusz Kochanowski, Piotr Scisło, Radosław Piątkowski, Grzegorz Opolski
DOI: 10.5603/CJ.a2013.0144
Cardiol J 2014;21(4):384-391.


Background: The aims of the study are 1) to assess antiarrhythmic prophylaxis efficacy dur­ing the first 2 months after radiofrequency ablation (ARF) due to AF; 2) to define risk factors for early AF recurrence (EAFR) after ARF; 3) to determine the long-term follow-up results and risk factors for late AF recurrence (LAFR).

Methods: A total number of 210 consecutive patients who had undergone ARF due to AF were analyzed. Patients were randomized into three groups: Group 1 (G1), without any anti­arrhythmic drug (AAD); Group 2 (G2), with amiodarone or sotalol; Group 3 (G3), with last ineffective AAD. The study was designed to analyze two periods: short-term observation, the first 2 months after ARF; and at least 2 years of long-term follow-up.

Results: After 2 months, clinical data were collected from 171 patients (123 males, mean age of 50.3 years; persistent AF in 19.8%; lone AF in 36.6%). Sinus rhythm (SR) was maintained in 84 (49.1%) patients; 35 (20.4%) patients presented with a single episode of AF, 39 (23%) patients experienced a reduction in number of AF episodes, and 13 (7.5%) patients showed no improvement. No predisposing factor for early recurrence was found. After a mean follow-up of 55 months, clinical data were collected in 137 patients, of which 47 (34%) maintained SR. Those more likely to sustain SR were: males (82.9% vs. 62.2%; p = 0.018), younger patients (44.8 ± 12.7 vs. 52.5 ± 9.9; p = 0.0001), patients with smaller left atrium diameter (4.05 ± ± 0.49 cm vs. 4.25 ± 0.51 cm; p = 0.04), and those without any AF recurrence during the first 2 months after ARF (78.7% vs. 35.6%; p < 0.0001). In the multivariable analysis, the inde­pendent risk factors for LAFR were hypertension (p < 0.001) and persistent AF (p = 0.014).

Conclusions: Antiarrhythmic prophylaxis does not affect the number of AF recurrences during the first 2 months after ablation. SR maintenance during a blanking period after AF ablation is a positive prognostic factor in long-term follow-up. Persistent AF and hypertension are independent risk factors for late AF recurrence after pulmonary vein isolation.