Predictors of atrial fibrillation recurrence after radiofrequency catheter ablation: A systematic review

Ethan M. Balk, Ann C. Garlitski, Alawi A. Alsheikh-Ali, Teruhiko Terasawa, Mei Chung, Stanley Ip

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

185 Citations (Scopus)


AF Recurrence After RFA: Systematic Review. Introduction: The relationship between success of radiofrequency ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) and patient characteristics has not been systematically evaluated. Methods and Results: We searched MEDLINE and Cochrane Central Trials Registry databases from 2000 through 2008 for studies reporting preprocedure predictors and AF recurrence after radiofrequency ablation. We extracted multivariable analyses and univariable data on predictors and AF recurrence. Eligible studies were highly heterogeneous, particularly regarding ablation technique and definition of AF recurrence. Among 25 studies with multivariable analyses, two-thirds to 90% of studies found that AF type, ejection fraction, left atrial diameter, structural heart disease, hypertension, and AF symptom duration did not predict AF recurrence (among patients with ejection fraction above 40% and left atrial diameter below about 55 mm). Studies found that gender and age were not predictors (in patients between 40 and 70 years old). Meta-analyses of univariable AF recurrence rates by AF type in 31 studies found that studies were statistically heterogeneous, but that nonparoxysmal AF predicted AF recurrence compared to paroxysmal AF (relative risk 1.59; 95% confidence interval 1.38-1.82; P < 0.001); meta-analyses of persistent or permanent versus paroxysmal AF yielded similar findings. Conclusion: Nonparoxysmal AF may be a clinically useful proxy for a combination of confounded variables, none of which alone is an independent predictor of AF recurrence. Evaluation of predictors was limited by exclusion of patients with severe heart disease or at the age extremes; thus, the evidence may not be as applicable to these populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1216
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 01-11-2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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