Author + information
- Received December 18, 2019
- Revision received May 4, 2020
- Accepted May 5, 2020
- Published online August 12, 2020.
- Kyle T. Mandsager, MD,
- Dermot M. Phelan, MD, PhD,
- Mohamed Diab, MD,
- Bryan Baranowski, MD,
- Walid I. Saliba, MD,
- Khaldoun G. Tarakji, MD,
- Wael A. Jaber, MD,
- Mohamed Kanj, MD,
- Patrick Tchou, MD,
- Bruce D. Lindsay, MD,
- Oussama M. Wazni, MD and
- Ayman A. Hussein, MD∗ ()
- ↵∗Address for correspondence:
Dr. Ayman A. Hussein, Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine/J2-2, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195.
Objectives The aims of this study were to assess outcomes of pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) performed on athletes at a tertiary care center and to characterize its efficacy and physiological effects.
Background The incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is increased in highly trained athletes and poses unique management challenges.
Methods Athletes were identified through a database of patients undergoing PVI from January 2000 through October 2015. Outcomes of AF ablation were defined in accordance with published guidelines. Available electrocardiographic, echocardiographic, and exercise treadmill testing data were also analyzed.
Results The study population included 144 athletes (93% men; mean age 50.4 ± 8.6 years; 97 paroxysmal, 38 persistent, and 9 long-standing persistent) with median follow-up of 3 years. Single-procedure freedom from arrhythmia was 75%, 68%, and 33% at 1 year for paroxysmal, persistent, and long-standing persistent AF, respectively. Multiple-procedure freedom from arrhythmia off antiarrhythmic drugs was 86%, 76%, and 56% in respective groups at the end of follow-up (mean 1.4 ± 0.7 ablations per athlete). Compared with a matched cohort of nonathletes who underwent PVI, there was no difference in arrhythmia recurrence (log-rank p = 0.23). Excluding long-standing persistent AF, longer diagnosis-to-ablation time was the only variable in Cox proportional hazards analyses associated with arrhythmia recurrence (adjusted heart rate per log increase: 1.92; 95% confidence interval: 1.40 to 2.73; p < 0.0001), and PVI within 2 years of diagnosis was notably associated with successful outcomes (log-rank p = 0.002). Sinus rate increased following the index ablation (mean 54 beats/min vs. 64 beats/min at >1 year; p < 0.0001), but maximum metabolic equivalents on exercise treadmill testing were unchanged (13.1 ± 1.2 vs. 12.7 ± 1.4; p = 0.44).
Conclusions PVI is an effective therapy in athletes with paroxysmal and persistent AF, and arrhythmia recurrence was no different from that among matched nonathletes. Early ablation was associated with improved success rates. Sustained cardioautonomic effects were observed following ablation, but exercise capacity was preserved.
The authors have reported that they have no relationships relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.
The authors attest they are in compliance with human studies committees and animal welfare regulations of the authors’ institutions and Food and Drug Administration guidelines, including patient consent where appropriate. For more information, visit the JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology author instructions page.
- Received December 18, 2019.
- Revision received May 4, 2020.
- Accepted May 5, 2020.
- 2020 American College of Cardiology Foundation
This article requires a subscription or purchase to view the full text. If you are a subscriber or member, click Login or the Subscribe link (top menu above) to access this article.