Catheter ablation is an important treatment modality for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Although the superiority of catheter ablation over antiarrhythmic drug therapy has been demonstrated in middle-aged patients with paroxysmal AF, the role the procedure in other patient subgroup-sparticularly those with long-standing persistent AF-has not been well defined. Furthermore, although AF ablation can be performed with reasonable efficacy and safety by experienced operators, long-term success rates for single procedures are suboptimal. Fortunately, extensive ongoing research will improve our understanding of the mechanisms of AF, and considerable funds are being invested in developing new ablation technologies to improve patient outcomes. These technologies include ablation catheters designed to electrically isolate the pulmonary veins with improved safety, efficacy, and speed, catheters designed to deliver radiofrequency energy with improved precision, robotic systems to address the technological demands of the procedure, improved imaging and electrical mapping systems, and MRI-guided ablation strategies. The tools, technologies, and techniques that will ultimately stand the test of time and become the standard approach to AF ablation in the future remain unclear. However, technological advances are sure to result in the necessary improvements in the safety and efficacy of AF ablation procedures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine