Aims Although atrial fibrillation (AF) catheter ablation increases sinus heart rate (HR), its mechanism and prognosis have not yet been clearly elucidated. We hypothesize that post-AF ablation high sinus HR (PA-HSR) is associated with a better clinical outcome of AF ablation without adverse cardiac effects. Methods and results We studied 991 AF patients (75% male, 58 ± 11 years old, 70% paroxysmal AF) with HR variability (HRV) at 3 months and 1 year after catheter ablation, and pre- and post-1-year echocardiograms. Post-AF ablation high sinus HR was defined as an average HR greater than 2 SD (≥92 bpm) as measured by 24 h Holter. (1) Average HR increased significantly (P< 0.001), and PA-HSR was observed in 28 patients (2.8%) 3 months after AF ablation. At 1 year after catheter ablation, 21% were taking β-blockers and 36% maintained an average HR of ≥92 bpm. (2) Post-AF ablation high sinus HR was independently associated with pre-procedural high average HR (OR 1.097; 95% CI 1.029-1.169, P= 0.005), high left atrium (LA) electrogram voltage (OR 3.545; 95% CI 1.183-10.618, P= 0.024), and reduced root mean square of differences between successive NN intervals (rMSSD) at 3 months HRV (OR 0.959; 95% CI 0.919-0.999, P= 0.047). (3) At 1 year echocardiography, size reduction of LA (P= 0.055) or LV (P= 0.372) and the improvement in ejection fraction (P= 0.529) were not significantly different between patients with PA-HSR and those without. (4) Throughout 27 ± 17 months of follow-up, patients with PA-HSR showed significantly lower clinical recurrence than those without (log rank, P= 0.020). Conclusion Post-AF ablation high sinus HR was observed in patients with smaller LA size and higher LA electrogram voltage and significant vagal modulation without adverse cardiac effects. Post-AF ablation high sinus HR was associated with a significantly lower clinical recurrence of AF after catheter ablation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)