Safety of Atrial Fibrillation Ablation With Isolated Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement

Andrei Churyla, Adin Cristian Andrei, Jane Kruse, James L. Cox, Olga N. Kislitsina, Menghan Liu, S. Chris Malaisrie, Patrick M. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) concomitant with cardiac surgery is a Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) class I recommendation, although the AF is frequently ignored. Analysis of the STS Database 30-day outcomes of isolated surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR) with and without AF ablation is presented. Methods: Data on 87,426 surgical aortic valve replacement patients were extracted from the STS database (version 2.81, 2014-2017) and patients were divided into 3 groups: (1) No preoperative AF, (2) Preoperative AF with concomitant ablation, and (3) Preoperative AF without ablation. The latter 2 groups were propensity score–matched in 1-(up)-to-2 ratio to alleviate covariate imbalances and reduce bias. Thirty-day outcomes were evaluated and compared. Results: Preoperative AF was present in 17.8% (15,596 of 87,426 patients). Ablation was performed in 33.1% (5,167 of 15,596), and 57.7% (2,983) had left atrial appendage closure. Propensity score matching (AF ablated n = 3692; AF non-ablated n = 5724), revealed that there was no difference between the AF ablated and AF non-ablated groups in mortality (2.8% vs 3.0%, respectively; P = .65) or for stroke (1.6% vs 1.7%, respectively; P = .82), but postoperative pacemaker implantation was higher in the AF ablated patients (6.8% AF ablated vs 5.0% AF non-ablated, P < .001). Conclusions: Despite being a class I recommendation, AF ablation concomitantly with other cardiac surgical procedures remains lower than current guideline recommendation in surgical aortic valve replacement patients. Ablation for AF does not increase the 30-day operative mortality or perioperative morbidity compared with non-ablated patients, although new pacemaker requirements were higher in the AF ablated group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-817
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


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