Complications of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation: a systematic review

Aakrita Gupta, Tharani Perera, Anand Ganesan, Thomas Sullivan, Dennis Lau, Kurt Roberts-Thomson, Anthony Brooks, Prashanthan Sanders

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    221 Citations (Scopus)


    Background-Atrial fibrillation ablation is an established therapy; however, limited data are available on associated complications. This systematic review determines the incidence and potential predictors of acute complications. Methods and Results-Electronic searches were conducted in MEDLINE and EMBASE for English scientific literature up to the 18th June 2012. A total of 2065 references were retrieved and evaluated for relevance. Reference lists of retrieved studies and review articles were examined to ensure all relevant studies were included. Data were extracted from 192 studies, total of 83 236 patients. The incidence of periprocedural complications for catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation was 2.9% (95% confidence interval, 2.6-3.2). There was a significant decrease in the acute complication rate in 2007 to 2012 compared with 2000 to 2006 (2.6% versus 4.0%; P=0.003). The complication rates reported were higher in prospective studies compared with those that retrospectively described complications (3.5% versus 2.7%; P=0.03). There were no significant associations among procedure duration, ablation time or ablation strategy, and acute complication rate. Conclusions-Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation has a low incidence of periprocedural complications. The acute complication rate has decreased significantly in recent years. This may reflect improved catheter technology and experience. The use of different strategies across centers worldwide seems to be safe with no established relationship between procedural variables and complication rate.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1082-1088
    Number of pages7
    JournalCirculation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Atrial fibrillation with bradyarrhythmia
    • Catheter ablation
    • Complication
    • Peroperative
    • Review
    • Systematic


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