BACKGROUND: Data regarding catheter ablation of post-surgical atrial tachycardia occurring after mitral valve surgery are scarce. Through a search of the literature, this study aimed to assess the feasibility of catheter ablation and the characteristics of atrial arrhythmias ablated in these patients.
METHODS: Studies assessing the main procedure parameters and the electrophysiologic findings of the investigated atrial tachycardia were selected. The electrophysiologic mechanism (focal vs. re-entrant arrhythmias), site of arrhythmia origin (left atrium vs. right atrium) and their anatomic correlation with specific surgical access and/or prior Cox-Maze IV procedure were all addressed.
RESULTS: Eleven studies including 206 patients undergoing catheter ablation of 297 post-surgical arrhythmia morphologies occurring after mitral valve surgery were considered. Major complications were observed in 2 patients only (0.9%). Restoration of sinus rhythm was achieved in 96% of patients. Macro-reentrant arrhythmia was mostly observed (90.4%) with a non-negligible proportion of focal arrhythmia (9.6%). Left-sided arrhythmia was common (54.4%,) but cavotricuspid isthmus-dependent arrhythmia was frequently reported (33%). Although specific atriotomies showed trends towards peculiar locations of the investigated arrhythmia, Cox-Maze IV procedure was the only independent predictor for left-sided arrhythmia (OR=17.3; 95% CI 7.2-41.2; P<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Catheter ablation of post-surgical arrhythmia occurring after mitral valve surgery is feasible, and, in this setting, the vast majority of the arrhythmia morphologies are based on macro-reentry and in about one third of cases show cavotricuspid isthmus-dependent arrhythmia. Prior Cox-Maze-IV associated with mitral valve surgery is an independent predictor of left-sided arrhythmia possibly due to non-transmural surgical lesions.