Update on atrial fibrillation catheter ablation technologies and techniques

Jane Dewire, Hugh Calkins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) has become an important treatment method. Electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins is the cornerstone of most AF ablation procedures, and is defined by an entrance block observed on a circular multipolar electrode catheter. The safety and efficacy of AF ablation is best established in middle-aged patients with paroxysmal AF. Current guidelines recommend AF ablation with a level Ia indication in this group of patients. The long-term efficacy of AF ablation is well established in patients with paroxysmal AF, but less so in patients with longstanding persistent AF. In this population, current guidelines recommend AF ablation with a level IIb indication. The efficacy of catheter ablation in other patient populations, particularly elderly people and those with concomitant conditions, is also poorly defined. AF ablation is reasonably effective and safe at 12 months of follow-up, but recurrence of AF ≥1 year after ablation is not uncommon. Fortunately, the techniques and tools used for AF ablation continue to evolve. These developments include novel ablation catheters designed to increase safety, efficacy, and precision of the procedure, ablation strategies to target both pulmonary vein and nonpulmonary vein AF triggers, and improved imaging and electrical mapping to guide ablation procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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