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Predictors for permanent pacemaker implantation after concomitant surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation

Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2013.03.012


Objectives Concomitant surgical atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation is a safe and feasible procedure, recommended in guidelines. Pacemaker dependency is a known complication of AF ablation. We sought to determine independent predictors for pacemaker implantation after surgical AF ablation. Methods Between January 2003 and November 2012, 594 patients underwent concomitant surgical AF ablation. Various energy sources, including cryoablation (n = 139), unipolar radiofrequency (n = 278), and bipolar radiofrequency (n = 177), were used. Left atrial (n = 463, 77.9%) and biatrial (n = 131, 22.1%) ablation was performed. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify independent predictors for pacemaker implantation within 30 days after surgical AF ablation. Results The mean patient's age was 68.6 ± 9.4 years, and 66.8% were male. No major ablation-related complications occurred. A total of 41 (6.9%) of patients received pacemaker implantation during the 30-day follow-up period. Indications for pacemaker implantation were atrioventricular block in 25 (60.9%) of patients, sinus bradycardia or sinus arrest in 9 (22.0%) of patients, and bradyarrhythmia in 7 (17.1%) of patients. Demographic data, type of surgical procedure, and type of energy source did not have a significant impact on pacemaker implantation rate. However, biatrial ablation led to a significant pacemaker implantation rate compared with isolated left-sided ablation (6.3% vs 13.6%; P = .028). Conclusions Concomitant surgical AF ablation showed a pacemaker implantation rate of 6.9% after 30-day follow-up. Univariate and multivariate analysis showed biatrial lesion set as the only statistically significant predictor for pacemaker implantation after surgical AF ablation.

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