Radiofrequency catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation: A cause of silent thromboembolism?: Magnetic resonance imaging assessment of cerebral thromboembolism in patients undergoing ablation of atrial fibrillation

Fiorenzo Gaita, Domenico Caponi, Martina Pianelli, Marco Scaglione, Elisabetta Toso, Federico Cesarani, Carlo Boffano, Giovanni Gandini, Maria Consuelo Valentini, Roberto De Ponti, Franck Halimi, Jean François Leclercq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND-: Radiofrequency left atrial catheter ablation has become a routine procedure for treatment of atrial fibrillation. The aim of this study was to assess with preprocedural and postprocedural cerebral magnetic resonance imaging the thromboembolic risk, either silent or clinically manifest, in the context of atrial fibrillation ablation. The secondary end point was the identification of clinical or procedural parameters that correlate with cerebral embolism. METHODS AND RESULTS-: A total of 232 consecutive patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation who were candidates for radiofrequency left atrial catheter ablation were included in the study. Pulmonary vein isolation or pulmonary vein isolation plus linear lesions plus atrial defragmentation with the use of irrigated-tip ablation catheters was performed. All of the patients underwent preprocedural and postablation cerebral magnetic resonance imaging. A periprocedural symptomatic cerebrovascular accident occurred in 1 patient (0.4%). Postprocedural cerebral magnetic resonance imaging was positive for new embolic lesions in 33 patients (14%). No clinical parameters such as age, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, previous history of stroke, type of atrial fibrillation, and preablation antithrombotic treatment showed significant correlation with ischemic cerebral embolism. Procedural parameters such as activated clotting time value and, in particular, electric or pharmacological cardioversion to sinus rhythm correlated with an increased incidence of cerebral embolism. Cardioversion was also associated with an increased risk of 2.75 (95% confidence interval, 1.29 to 5.89; P=0.009). CONCLUSIONS-: Radiofrequency left atrial catheter ablation carries a low risk of symptomatic cerebral ischemia but is associated with a substantial risk of silent cerebral ischemia detected on magnetic resonance imaging. Independent risk factors for cerebral thromboembolism are the level of activated clotting time and, in particular, the electric or pharmacological cardioversion to sinus rhythm during the procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1667-1673
Number of pages7
JournalCirculation
Volume122
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 26 2010

Keywords

  • ablation
  • arrhythmia
  • fibrillation
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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  • Cite this

    Gaita, F., Caponi, D., Pianelli, M., Scaglione, M., Toso, E., Cesarani, F., Boffano, C., Gandini, G., Valentini, M. C., De Ponti, R., Halimi, F., & François Leclercq, J. (2010). Radiofrequency catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation: A cause of silent thromboembolism?: Magnetic resonance imaging assessment of cerebral thromboembolism in patients undergoing ablation of atrial fibrillation. Circulation, 122(17), 1667-1673. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.937953