Safety of Atrial Fibrillation Ablation With Isolated Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement

Andrei Churyla*, Adin Cristian Andrei, Jane Kruse, James L. Cox, Olga N. Kislitsina, Menghan Liu, S. Chris Malaisrie, Patrick M. McCarthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) concomitant with cardiac surgery is a Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) class I recommendation, although the AF is frequently ignored. Analysis of the STS Database 30-day outcomes of isolated surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR) with and without AF ablation is presented. Methods: Data on 87,426 surgical aortic valve replacement patients were extracted from the STS database (version 2.81, 2014-2017) and patients were divided into 3 groups: (1) No preoperative AF, (2) Preoperative AF with concomitant ablation, and (3) Preoperative AF without ablation. The latter 2 groups were propensity score–matched in 1-(up)-to-2 ratio to alleviate covariate imbalances and reduce bias. Thirty-day outcomes were evaluated and compared. Results: Preoperative AF was present in 17.8% (15,596 of 87,426 patients). Ablation was performed in 33.1% (5,167 of 15,596), and 57.7% (2,983) had left atrial appendage closure. Propensity score matching (AF ablated n = 3692; AF non-ablated n = 5724), revealed that there was no difference between the AF ablated and AF non-ablated groups in mortality (2.8% vs 3.0%, respectively; P = .65) or for stroke (1.6% vs 1.7%, respectively; P = .82), but postoperative pacemaker implantation was higher in the AF ablated patients (6.8% AF ablated vs 5.0% AF non-ablated, P < .001). Conclusions: Despite being a class I recommendation, AF ablation concomitantly with other cardiac surgical procedures remains lower than current guideline recommendation in surgical aortic valve replacement patients. Ablation for AF does not increase the 30-day operative mortality or perioperative morbidity compared with non-ablated patients, although new pacemaker requirements were higher in the AF ablated group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-817
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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