Impact of Obesity on Atrial Fibrillation Recurrence Following Stand-Alone Cox Maze IV Procedure

Robert M. MacGregor, Ali J. Khiabani, Nadia H. Bakir, Meghan O. Kelly, Samuel C. Perez, Hersh Maniar, Richard Schuessler, Marc R. Moon, Spencer Melby, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Obesity is a strong and independent factor for the development of atrial fibrillation (AF), and adversely impacts the success of catheter ablation procedures for AF. This study evaluated the impact of body mass index (BMI) on the outcomes following surgical ablation of AF. Methods: Between 2003 and 2019, 236 patients underwent a stand-alone biatrial Cox maze IV procedure (CMP-IV) for refractory AF. Obesity was defined as BMI ≥30 kg/m2. Patients were divided into two groups: BMI <30 kg/m2 (n = 100) and BMI ≥30 kg/m2 (n = 136). Freedom from atrial tachyarrhythmia (ATA) was determined using electrocardiography, Holter, or pacemaker interrogation at 1 year and annually thereafter. Recurrence was defined as any documented ATA lasting ≥30 s. Predictors of recurrence were determined using multivariable logistic regression. Preoperative and procedural outcomes were compared between groups. Results: Obese patients had a higher rate of diabetes (16% vs 7%, P = 0.044) and larger left atrial diameter (4.9 ± 1.1 cm vs 4.6 ± 1.0 cm, P = 0.021) when compared to non-obese patients. There was no difference in major complication rate between the groups (4% vs 7%, P = 0.389). There was no operative mortality in either group. During 4.1 ± 2.4 years of follow-up, there was no significant difference in freedom from ATA with or without antiarrhythmic drugs in obese patients when compared to the non-obese group (P > 0.05). Absence of sinus rhythm at discharge predicted AF recurrence up to 7 years postoperatively. Conclusions: As opposed to catheter ablation, obesity did not adversely impact the short and long-term outcomes of stand-alone surgical ablation with CMP-IV, and BMI was not a predictor of AF recurrence. Additionally, there was no significant increase in major complications in obese patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-440
Number of pages7
JournalInnovations: Technology and Techniques in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • obesity
  • surgical ablation


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