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Prophylactic Atrial Fibrillation Ablation in Atrial Flutter Patients without Atrial Fibrillation: A Meta-Analysis with Trial Sequential Analysis

Xinxing Xie, Xujie Liu, Bo Chen, Qing Wang

Deparment of Cardiology, Rizhao Heart Hospital, Rizhao, Shandong, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit Basic Res 2018; 24:96-102

DOI: 10.12659/MSMBR.910338

Available online: 2018-06-30

Published: 2018-06-30


BACKGROUND: New-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) is common after atrial flutter (AFL) ablation, but it was unclear whether AF ablation could reduce the incidence of AF in AFL patients without AF history. The present meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the benefit of prophylactic AF ablation in reducing the occurrence of AF in typical AFL patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library from inception to December 2017 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the efficacy of AF ablation in reducing the occurrence of AF in AFL patients without AF. Trial sequential analysis (TSA) was used to control random errors and calculate the required information size.
RESULTS: Four trials (n=357 patients) met the inclusion criteria and were included in our meta-analysis. The incidence of AF after AFL ablation was 46.4%. We observed that prophylactic AF ablation reduced the AF incidence compared with simple AFL ablation (26.1% versus 46.4%, RR: 0.57, 95% CIs: 0.42–0.76, P=0.0002) with a prolonged procedure duration (P<0.00001) and fluoroscopy time (P=0.004). Further TSA indicated that more RCTs were needed to reach more conclusive results. There was no significant difference in clinical complications (P=0.33) between the 2 groups.
CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis provides evidence that prophylactic AF ablation may be more effective than simple AFL ablation in reducing AF incidence after AFL ablation. Large prospective RCTs are warranted to confirm the benefit of prophylactic AF ablation in AFL patients without AF history.

Keywords: Atrial Fibrillation, Atrial Flutter, Catheter Ablation