Background: A simplified alternative to the Cox maze procedure to treat atrial fibrillation with epicardial high-intensity focused ultrasound was evaluated clinically, and the initial clinical results were assessed at the 6-month follow-up visit. Methods: From September 2002 through February 2004, 103 patients were prospectively enrolled in a multicenter study. Atrial fibrillation duration ranged from 6 to 240 months (mean, 44 months) and was permanent in 76 (74%) patients, paroxysmal in 22 (21%) patients, and persistent in 5 (5%) patients. All patients had concomitant operations, and ablation was performed epicardially on the beating heart before the concomitant procedure. The device automatically created a circumferential left atrial ablation around the pulmonary veins in an average of 10 minutes, and an additional mitral line was created epicardially in 35 (34%) patients with a handheld device by using the same technology. Results: No complications or deaths were device or procedure related. There were 4 (3.8%) early deaths and 2 late extracardiac deaths. The 6-month follow-up was complete in all survivors. At the 6-month visit, freedom from atrial fibrillation was 85% in the entire study group (80% in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation, 88% in the 35 patients who had the additional mitral line, and 100% in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation). A pacemaker was implanted in 8 patients. Only the duration and type of atrial fibrillation significantly increased the risk of recurrence. Conclusion: Epicardial, off-pump, beating-heart ablation with acoustic energy is safe and cures 80% of patients with permanent atrial fibrillation associated with long-standing structural heart disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine