Surgery for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in the setting of mitral valve disease: A role for pulmonary vein isolation?

A. Marc Gillinov*, Faisal Bakaeen, Patrick M. McCarthy, Eugene H. Blackstone, Jeevanantham Rajeswaran, Gosta Pettersson, Joseph F. Sabik, Farzad Najam, Kathleen M. Hill, Lars G. Svensson, Delos M. Cosgrove, Nassir Marrouche, Andrea Natale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Background. It is unknown whether pulmonary vein isolation or a complete Cox-Maze procedure is needed to ablate paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in patients with mitral valve disease. Our objective was to assess the impact of different surgical treatments for this arrhythmia in patients undergoing mitral valve surgery. Methods. From July 1993 to January 2004, 152 patients underwent combined surgical treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and mitral valve disease. Ablation procedures included pulmonary vein isolation alone (n = 31, 20%), pulmonary vein isolation with left atrial connecting lesions (n = 80, 53%), and Cox-Maze (n = 41, 27%). The latter had longer durations of atrial fibrillation than the former (p < 0.0001). Rhythm documented on 1,225 postoperative electrocardiograms was used to estimate prevalence of, and risk factors for, atrial fibrillation across time. Ablation failure was defined as occurrence of atrial fibrillation any time beyond 6 months after operation. Results. Prevalence of postoperative atrial fibrillation peaked at 22% at 2 weeks and declined to 9% at 1 year. Risk factors included older age (p = 0.09), larger left atrium (p = 0.05), and rheumatic (p = 0.003) and degenerative etiologies (p = 0.03). Freedom from ablation failure was 84% at one year. Ablation procedure did not affect prevalence of atrial fibrillation or incidence of ablation failure. Conclusions. Pulmonary vein isolation alone may be adequate treatment for patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation undergoing mitral valve surgery, particularly when it is of short duration. A randomized trial is necessary to examine this strategy, especially in patients with longer duration of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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