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Association between early recurrences of atrial tachyarrhythmias and long-term outcomes in patients after repeat atrial fibrillation ablation



Early recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmia (ER) is predictive of late recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmia (LR) after first-time atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation, but the association in patients undergoing repeat AF ablation is unknown. We aim to determine the incidence and prognostic significance of ER after repeat ablation.


A total of 259 consecutive patients (mean age 64 years, 75.3% male) undergoing repeat AF ablation with complete follow-up data were included at a single institution from 2010 to 2015. ER and LR were defined as atrial tachyarrhythmia (AF, atrial flutter or atrial tachycardia) > 30 s within the 3-month blanking period (BP) and after the 3-month BP, respectively.


ER occurred in 79/259 (30.5%), and LR occurred in 138/259 (53%) at a median follow-up of 1221 (IQR: 523-1712) days. Four-year freedom from LR was 22% and 56% in patients with and without ER, respectively (p < 0.001). After multivariate adjustment, ER was strongly associated with LR, cardioversion post BP, and repeat ablation, but not associated with hospitalization. Compared to those with no ER, there was a higher risk of LR when ER occurred within the first month of the BP [month 1: hazard ratio (HR) 2.32, confidence interval (CI) 1.57-3.74, p < 0.001; month 2: HR 2.01, CI 1.13-3.83, p = 0.02; month 3: HR 1.46, CI 0.5-3.36, p = 0.37], however the prediction of LR based on timing within the BP was poor (area under curve 0.64).


Following repeat AF ablation, ER is strongly associated with LR, cardioversion post BP, and repeat ablation.

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