Curative ablation for atrial fibrillation: A systematic review
Objective. To perform a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF).
Background. Radiofrequency catheter (RF)-ablation around pulmonary vein ostia and in left atrium may reduce or prevent recurrence of AF, as documented in observational studies and registry reports; however, few RCTs are available.
Methods. Using relevant search phrases, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for RCTs, last time in May 2007. Titles and abstracts were screened. When entry criteria were fulfilled, full-text papers were read and graded according to quality and relevance.
Results. One thousand and ninety four abstracts were evaluated, and five RCTs included (578 randomized patients). The studies had moderate quality and relevance, but the results were consistent: ablation is better than drug treatment in preventing AF recurrence; the relative risk (95% CI)) one year after ablation ranged from 0.20 (0.08-0.51) to 0.62 (0.39-0.99).
Conclusions. Results from observational and registry studies are confirmed: RF-ablation reduces recurrence rate of AF, and can be done with few serious complications. Limitations are few patients >70 years, and only one year follow-up.