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Cardiac Remodeling After Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Radiofrequency catheter ablation procedures are considered a reasonable option for patients with symptomatic, drug refractory atrial fibrillation (AF). Ablation procedures have been reported to effectively restore sinus rhythm and provide long-term relief of symptoms. Both electrical and structural remodeling occurs with AF. A reversal of the electrical remodeling develops within 1 week after restoration to sinus rhythm following the catheter ablation. The recovery rate is faster in the right atrium than the left atrium. Reverse structural remodeling takes longer and is still present 2 to 4 months after restoration of sinus rhythm. The left atrial transport function also improves after successful catheter ablation of AF. Left atrial strain surveys from echocardiography are able to identify patients who respond to catheter ablation with significant reverse remodeling after ablation. Pre-procedural delayed enhancement magnetic resonance imaging is also able to determine the degree of atrial fibrosis and is another tool to predict the reverse remodeling after ablation. The remodeling process is complex if recurrence develops after ablation. Recent evidence shows that a combined reverse electrical and structural remodeling occurs after ablation of chronic AF when recurrence is paroxysmal AF. Progressive electrical remodeling without any structural remodeling develops in those with recurrence involving chronic AF. Whether progressive atrial remodeling is the cause or consequence during the recurrence of AF remains obscure and requires further study.

Credits: Li-Wei Lo, MD; Shih-Ann Chen, MD

Biosense Webster
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Introduction to AFib
Ablation Specialist

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