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Catheter ablation to prevent recurrent atrial fibrillation: Clinical application

Author
Rod Passman, MD, MSCE
Section Editors
Bradley P Knight, MD, FACC
N A Mark Estes, III, MD
Deputy Editor
Gordon M Saperia, MD, FACC

INTRODUCTION

The three principal goals of therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are the reduction of the risk of stroke, the prevention of tachycardia-mediated cardiomyopathy, and the alleviation of symptoms. To accomplish the first goal, most patients with AF will require oral anticoagulant. (See "Atrial fibrillation: Anticoagulant therapy to prevent embolization".)

With regard to the other two goals, they can be achieved with either a rhythm or a rate control strategy in most patients. The process for deciding between the two is discussed separately. (See "Rhythm control versus rate control in atrial fibrillation".)

For patients in whom a rhythm control strategy is chosen, catheter ablation (CA) and antiarrhythmic drug therapy are the two principle interventions to reduce the frequency of or eliminate episodes of AF. (See "Maintenance of sinus rhythm in atrial fibrillation: Catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drug therapy".)

This topic will discuss the use of CA in patients with AF. The discussion of surgery to prevent recurrent AF is found elsewhere. (See "Surgical approaches to prevent recurrent atrial fibrillation".)

The two principle types of catheter ablation, radiofrequency and cryothermal, are discussed in detail elsewhere. (See "Catheter ablation to prevent recurrent atrial fibrillation: Technical considerations", section on 'Energy sources used for ablation'.)

                        

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Literature review current through: Apr 2015. | This topic last updated: May 27, 2015.
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