Atrial flutter after surgical radiofrequency ablation of the left atrium for atrial fibrillation

Gregory Golovchiner, Alexander Mazur, Alex Kogan, Boris Strasberg, Yaron Shapira, Menachem Fridman, Jairo Kuzniec, Bernardo A. Vidne, Ehud Raanani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Left atrial radiofrequency ablation is the most common technique for the treatment of atrial fibrillation during mitral valve surgery. Reported failure rates range between 15% and 30%, with some patients remaining in atrial fibrillation and others experiencing atrial flutter. The incidence and nature of the postoperative atrial flutter is not yet well defined. The study group consisted of 50 patients with atrial fibrillation who underwent mitral valve surgery combined with left atrial radiofrequency ablation, and were followed for a mean period of 15 ± 7 months. The majority of patients (39; 78%) had persistent or permanent atrial fibrillation. Placement of the ablation lines was as follows: encircling the pulmonary veins, isolating the base of the left atrial appendage, and bridging the lateral or posterior mitral annulus and the margin of the pulmonary vein or the appendage-encircling ablation lines. There were three hospital deaths (6%). Thirty-four (72%) patients were free of any atrial tachyarrhythmia events, and 37 (79%) patients were in sinus rhythm by the end of the study's follow-up. During the follow-up, 6 patients (12.7%) experienced atrial flutter and 1 patient had atrial tachycardia. Electrophysiologic study was performed in 5 of 6 patients with postoperative atrial flutter. In 4 of them, the study findings were consistent with left atrial flutter. One patient with typical isthmus-dependent right atrial flutter underwent successful ablation. Left atrial surgical radiofrequency ablation is associated with a high rate of postoperative atrial flutters that appear to be predominantly of left-sided origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-112
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


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