HealthDay News — Catheter ablation (CA) of atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with more strokes in patients who are at least 75 years old but is not associated with other complications, according to a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Julia Moser, MD, from the University Hospital Hamburg in Germany, and colleagues compared complication rates of CA of AF in patients ≥75 vs <75 years of age. A total of 4449 patients (227 aged ≥75 years and 4222 aged <75 years) with paroxysmal AF and persistent AF underwent CA of AF. Overall, 4347 patients underwent centralized follow-up.

The researchers found that the elderly vs the younger cohort differed significantly in periprocedural stroke rate (1.3 vs 0.1%). There was no significant between-group difference in in-hospital severe nonfatal complications (4.4 vs 2.7%). No significant differences were seen for other procedure-related in-hospital complications. There were no differences in complication rates after a mean follow-up of 472 ± 99 days (elderly group) and 477 ± 94 days (younger group).

“CA of AF in patients ≥75 years is associated with higher in-hospital stroke rates,” the authors write. “In a 1-year follow-up, complication rates do not differ between the groups.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.


Moser J, Willems S, Andresen D, et al. Complication rates of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation in patients aged ≥ 75 years versus < 75 years – results from the German ablation registry. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2016; doi:10.1111/jce.13142.