The impact of catheter ablation in patient’s heart failure and atrial fibrillation: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials

Ahmed Sayed, Ahmed K. Awad, Omar M. Abdelfattah, Mahmoud Elsayed, Khader Herzallah, Joseph E. Marine, Rod Passman, Jared T. Bunch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent trial data suggest a benefit to catheter ablation (CA) compared to medical therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with heart failure (HF). Nevertheless, because of mixed trial evidence, contemporary guidelines give it a class 2 recommendation. Accordingly, we sought to assess the currently available evidence for CA in HF with AF. Methods: Electronic databases were searched to identify randomized clinical trials (RCTs) comparing CA to medical therapy in patients with AF and HF. Study data was pooled using fixed and random effects, and the number needed to treat (NNT) was calculated to gauge absolute risk differences. Heterogeneity was quantified using I2. Our primary outcome was all-cause mortality. Results: Nine trials (CA 1075 patients; medical therapy 1083 patients) were included. Ablation reduced the relative risk of all-cause mortality by 31.5% (95% CI 13.7 to 45.6%; NNT = 23), cardiovascular mortality by 39.3% (95% CI 10.9 to 58.7%; NNT = 31), cardiovascular hospitalization by 29.1% (95% CI 9.4 to 44.6%; NNT = 9), and heart failure hospitalization by 28.5% (95% CI 6.5 to 45.4%; NNT = 22). Improvements in quality of life were observed with CA using the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (mean difference – 5.26; 95% CI − 2.73 to − 7.78) and the Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality of Life (mean difference 5.36; 95% CI 2.72 to 8.00). Conclusion: Compared to medical therapy, CA for AF in patients with HF reduces all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, cardiovascular hospitalizations, and heart failure hospitalizations, and may improve quality of life. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Ablation
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary vein isolation
  • Rhythm control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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