Long-term outcomes of minimally invasive surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation: A single-center experience


      Minimally invasive surgical atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation (MISAA) delivers radiofrequency energy via a thoracoscopic approach to perform pulmonary vein isolation and left atrial ganglionic plexi ablation. Data on long-term outcomes of MISAA are lacking.


      We report 5-year follow-up data from a prospective cohort of patients who underwent MISAA at a single center.


      One hundred nine consecutive patients (60 paroxysmal, 49 persistent; mean age 62.7 ± 9.3 years) underwent MISAA with left atrial appendage exclusion by a single surgeon between 2006 and 2012. Patients were followed with transtelephonic monitoring at 1, 6, and 12 months and annually thereafter for up to 5 years. Recurrence was defined as any atrial tachyarrhythmia lasting ≥30 seconds from 90 days after surgery onward.


      Mean follow-up duration was 1738.5 ± 661.5 days. Single-procedure success rate was 38% (37 of 98 patients). Atrial arrhythmias occurred in 22%, 42%, 55%, 59%, and 62% of patients by 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years. Seventy-eight (79.6%) patients remained AF free with or without additional interventions including catheter ablation, antiarrhythmic drugs, or cardioversion. There was no significant difference in AF-free survival between paroxysmal and persistent AF groups (P = .725). Multivariate analyses showed hypertension to be a significant predictor of AF recurrence (odds ratio 6.6, confidence interval 1.41–30.80; P = .016). Five (5.1%) patients had a stroke or transient ischemic attack during follow-up.


      AF-free survival was 38% at 5 years after MISAA. A total of 79.6% of patients remained AF free with or without additional intervention. Patients may have an ongoing risk of stroke even in the absence of AF recurrences.


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