Does Preoperative Sinus Rhythm Influence Surgical Ablation’s Perioperative Safety in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation?
Keywords:atrial fibrillation, sinus rhythm, surgical ablation, maze procedure, cardiac surgery
Background: Despite excellent data on lowering long-term stroke and all-cause mortality rates, currently, only 25–40% of atrial fibrillation (AF) patients undergo simultaneous surgical ablation therapy (SA) during cardiac surgery. Surgeon’s fear exposing their patients to an additional, unjustified, and disproportionate risk when performing SA in AF patients presenting with sinus rhythm (SR) before surgery. To clarify the influence of preoperative SR before SA for AF, we conducted a subgroup analysis of the German Cardiosurgical Atrial Fibrillation (CASE-AF) register.
Methods: Between September 2016 and August 2020, 964 AF patients with an underlying cardiac disease were scheduled for surgery with SA and enrolled in the CASE-AF register. Data prospectively were collected and analyzed retrospectively. We divided the entire cohort into an SR-group (38.2%, N = 368) and an AF-group (61.8%, N = 596), based on preoperative heart rhythm.
Results: Over half of the patients were moderately affected by their AF, with no difference between the groups (European Heart Rhythm Association class ≥IIb: SR-group 54.2% versus AF-group 58.5%, P = .238). The AF-group had a higher preoperative EuroSCORE II (4.8 ± 8.0% versus 4.2 ± 6.3%,
P = .014). In-hospital mortality (SR-group 0.8% versus AF-group 1.7%, P = .261), major perioperative adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (SR-group 2.7% versus AF-group 3.5%, P = .500), and the new pacemaker implantation rate (SR-group 6.0% versus AF-group 5.9%, P = .939) were low and showed and no group difference. Logistic regression analysis showed a protective effect for preoperative SR to perioperative complications in AF patients undergoing SA (odds ratio (OR) 0.72 (95% CI 0.52 - 0.998); P = .0485).
Conclusions: Concomitant SA in AF patients presenting in SR before cardiac surgery is safe, has a low perioperative risk profile, and should be carried out with almost no exceptions.
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