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Introduction: The posterior wall (PW) has been proposed as a standard target for ablation beyond pulmonary vein antral isolation (PVI) in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (AF). However, studies have shown inconsistent outcomes with the addition of PW ablation. The presence or absence of low voltage on the PW may explain these inconsistencies. We evaluated whether PW ablation based on the presence or absence of low voltage improves long-term arrhythmia-free outcomes. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 5-year follow-up in 152 consecutive patients who received either standard ablation (SA) with PVI alone or PVI + PW ablation (PWA) based on physician discretion (n = 77) or voltage-guided ablation (VGA) with PVI and addition of PWA only if low voltage was present on the PW (n = 75). Results: The two groups were well matched for baseline characteristics. At 5-year follow-up, 64% of patients receiving VGA were atrial tachyarrhythmia (AT)/AF free compared to 34% receiving SA (HR 0.358 p < .005). PWA had similar AF recurrence in SA and VGA groups (0.30 vs. 0.27 p = .96) but higher AT recurrence when comparing SA and VGA groups (0.39 vs. 0.15 p = .03). In multivariate analysis, both VGA and PWA predicted AF arrhythmia-free survival (HR 0.33, p = .001 and HR 0.20, p = .008, respectively). For AT, VGA predicted arrhythmia-free survival (HR 0.22, p = .028), while PWA predicted AT recurrence (HR 4.704, p = .0219). Conclusion: VGA of the posterior wall ablation beyond PVI in persistent AF significantly improves long-term arrhythmia-free survival when compared with non-voltage-guided ablation. PW ablation without voltage-guidance reduced AF recurrence but at the cost of a higher incidence of AT.
catheter ablation, low voltage, persistent atrial fibrillation, posterior wall
Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
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Cutler MJ, Sattayaprasert P, Pivato E, Jabri A, AlMahameed ST, Ziv O. Low voltage‐guided ablation of posterior wall improves 5‐year arrhythmia‐free survival in persistent atrial fibrillation. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2022;33:2475‐2484. doi:10.1111/jce.15464