Surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation with bipolar radiofrequency as the primary modality

A. Marc Gillinov*, Patrick M. McCarthy, Eugene H. Blackstone, Jeevanantham Rajeswaran, Gosta Pettersson, Joseph F. Sabik, Lars G. Svensson, Delos M. Cosgrove, Kathleen M. Hill, Gonzalo V. Gonzalez-Stawinski, Nassir Marrouche, Andrea Natale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Objectives: In studying cardiac surgical patients undergoing atrial fibrillation ablation with bipolar radiofrequency, we sought to (1) quantify the time-related prevalence of atrial fibrillation postoperatively and identify its risk factors and (2) determine time-related ablation failure and its risk factors. Methods: From November 2001 to January 2004, 513 patients underwent atrial fibrillation ablation (bipolar radiofrequency alone or with cryothermy) and other cardiac operations. Rhythm documented on 3495 postoperative electrocardiograms was used to estimate the 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 about 1 month, decreased to 13% at 6 months, and gradually increased thereafter. Risk factors associated with increased prevalence varied by time period and included older age (P = .004) for early occurrence, lesion set in permanent atrial fibrillation (P = .02) for late occurrence, and larger left atrial diameter (P = .02) and permanent atrial fibrillation (P < .0001) for occurrence across the entire time span. Freedom from ablation failure was 72% at 12 months. Risk factors for ablation failure included lesion set in permanent atrial fibrillation (P = .001), longer duration of atrial fibrillation (P = .01), and larger left atrial diameter (P = .03). Conclusions: Bipolar radiofrequency enables extension of ablation to most cardiac surgical patients with atrial fibrillation. Recurrence is influenced by the type and duration of atrial fibrillation, choice of lesion set in permanent atrial fibrillation, and left atrial size. Early operation, careful choice of lesion set, and left atrial reduction might enhance results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1322-1329.e29
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation with bipolar radiofrequency as the primary modality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this