Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation Post‐Cavotricuspid Isthmus Ablation in Patients with Typical Atrial Flutter: Left‐Atrial Size as an Independent Predictor of Atrial Fibrillation Recurrence
Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter often coexist. The long-term occurrence of atrial fibrillation in patients presenting with atrial flutter alone is unknown. We report the long-term follow-up in patients who underwent cavotricuspid isthmus ablation for treatment of lone atrial flutter. Between January 1997 and June 2002, 632 patients underwent cavotricuspid isthmus ablation for the treatment of typical atrial flutter at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Three hundred sixty-three patients were included in this study and followed for a mean duration of 39 +/- 11 months. The mean duration of atrial flutter symptoms was 12 +/- 5 months. Mean left-atrial size and left-ventricular ejection fraction were 4.2 +/- 0.8 cm and 47 +/- 13%, respectively. After a mean follow-up time of 39 +/- 11 months, 13% (48 of 363) of the patients remained in sinus rhythm. Five percent (18 of 363) of patients experienced recurrence of atrial flutter only. Sixty-eight percent (246 of 363) experienced the onset of atrial fibrillation and 14% (51 of 363) experienced recurrence of atrial flutter and the new onset of atrial fibrillation. Overall, 82% (297 of 363) of the patients experienced new onset of drug refractory atrial fibrillation. Left-atrial size was a predictor of atrial fibrillation recurrence post-atrial flutter ablation. At long-term follow-up, approximately 82% of patients post-cavotricuspid isthmus ablation for atrial flutter developed drug refractory atrial fibrillation. This finding suggests that elimination of atrial flutter might delay, but does not prevent, atrial fibrillation. Evidence suggests both arrhythmias may share common triggers and such patients may derive a better long-term benefit from anatomical ablative treatment of atrial fibrillation as well.
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate changes in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in different sub-groups of a cohort of patients with typical atrial flutter (AFL) treated with cavotricuspid isthmus (CTI) radiofrequency catheter ablation. 95 consecutive patients due to undergo CTI ablation were enrolled in a study involving their completion of two SF-36 HRQOL questionnaires, before ablation and at one-year follow-up. 88 of the initial 95 patients finished the study. Regardless of whether patients experienced atrial fibrillation (AF) during follow-up, a statistically significant improvement in HRQOL was observed, compared with pre-ablation scores and in all dimensions except Bodily Pain. However, patients without AF during follow-up had significantly higher absolute HRQOL scores in most dimensions. No differences were seen in most HRQOL dimensions, with respect to AFL type (paroxysmal, persistent) or duration, whether AFL was first-episode or recurrent, Class I-III drug dependent, sex, or presence of structural heart disease or tachycardiomyopathy. Patients with persistent AFL showed the greatest improvement in HRQOL when they also had a ventricular cycle length ≤500 ms. The combination of recurrent AFL, ventricular cycle length ≤500 ms and structural heart disease led to a significantly greater improvement in physical HRQOL dimensions than did first-episode AFL, no structural heart disease and ventricular cycle >500 ms. The only independent factor associated with a greater improvement was structural cardiopathy. CTI-ablation treatment leads to a significant improvement in HRQOL in patients with typical AFL. Patients with AF during follow-up show a significantly lower HRQOL at one-year post-ablation. The only independent risk factor found to be associated with a greater improvement in the physical summary component was structural cardiopathy.
- "A more rigorous approach might be to monitor and diagnose oligosymptomatic episodes, and/or to have a longer follow-up period in which to gather data on the development of AF in post-ablation patients. Ellis et al  have reported an incidence in post-ablation AF of up to 82% at 3 years and 3 months. Similarly, Chinitz et al  have reported an occurence of AF of 50% at a follow-up of 2.5 years in a cohort of patients with typical isolated AFL undergoing CTI ablation. "
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiofrequency catheter ablation of the cavotricuspid isthmus (CTI) is effective in the treatment of typical atrial flutter (AFL) and atrial fibrillation (AF). AF and AFL often coexist. However, AF often occurs following successful ablation of CTI. The aim of this study was to investigate the predictors of concomitant AF following successful ablation of AFL. We enrolled 122 patients [59.1 ± 11.3 years, male 100 (82.0%)] with typical AFL, who received successful ablation of the CTI. They were followed up at outpatient clinic (24.6 ± 25.7 months). Twelve-lead electrocardiogram and Holter monitoring were used to confirm the diagnosis of recurrent AFL or AF. We assessed prior history of AF, structural heart disease, left ventricular ejection fraction, left atrial diameter (LAD), left atrial volume index (LAVI), and AFL cycle length. Among the 122 ablated patients, 15 (12.3%) had recurrent AFL and 33 (27.0%) had recurrent AF. In univariate logistic analysis, LAD and LAVI could significantly predict the recurrence of AF after AFL ablation. However, multivariate logistic regression analysis found that the independent predictor of recurrent AF was LAVI. An LAVI of 42.6 mL may allow for the differentiation between only AFL and AFL with concomitant AF with 69.0% sensitivity and 69.8% specificity. LAVI might be a useful predictor for occurrence of AF after ablation of typical AFL.
- "This controversy could be explained by the fact that most patients had normal left ventricular function and a small number of patients had mitral regurgitation. Ellis et al.  also noted that LA size was a predictor of AF recurrence after AFL ablation. In our study, dilated LA dimension could predict occurrence of AF in univariate analysis. "
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiofrequency ablation is an effective treatment for typical atrial flutter (AFL) but long-term results may be hampered by atrial fibrillation (AF). To determine the incidence and predictors of AF during very long-term follow-up after radiofrequency ablation of typical AFL. From November 1998 to December 2000, patients who underwent successful radiofrequency ablation for cavotricuspid isthmus-dependent AFL in our centre were followed prospectively. Of the 135 patients followed (mean age: 62+/-11 years), 69 (51%) had structural heart disease. Mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 52+/-11%. Patients were analysed according to preablation AF history: group 1 included patients with AFL (N=71); group 2 included patients with AFL and AF (N=64). During a median [interquartile range] follow-up of 7.8 [7.0-8.4] years, new-onset or recurrent AF was experienced by 99 (73%) patients: 44 (62%) in group 1 and 55 (86%) in group 2. Although most episodes occurred in the first 2 years postablation, AF prevalence increased continuously over time. Preablation AF history predicted AF occurrence (hazard ratio: 2.10, 95% confidence interval: 1.40-3.14; p=0.001), as did left atrial diameter (hazard ratio: 1.05 per 1 mm increase; 95% confidence interval: 1.02-1.08; p<0.001). AF evolved to become permanent in 24% of group 1 and 47% of group 2 patients (p=0.005). During long-term follow-up, most patients will experience AF after ablation of typical AFL. Preablation AF history and left atrial enlargement predict postablation AF occurrence.
- "Although 17—22% of patients experience a first episode of AF during the first 6 months after the procedure  , the cumulative probability of developing postablation AF increases over time. Ellis et al. reported recently that 82% of patients with lone AFL developed drug-refractory AF after a mean follow-up of 39 ± 11 months . All series published to date have a mean follow-up of less than 4 years. "