Long-term follow-up after surgery for atrial fibrillation with concomitant open heart surgery
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTidsskrift for Den norske legeforening. 2021, 141 (1) 10.4045/tidsskr.20.0279
BACKGROUND Patients with atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter scheduled to undergo open heart surgery can receive ablation treatment of arrhythmogenic foci during the same intervention. Sinus rhythm is restored in the majority in the short term, but the long-term results are more uncertain. This study, which is part of the international CURE-AF trial, evaluates results after Cox-Maze IV surgery for atrial fibrillation in Norway at six-year follow-up. MATERIAL AND METHOD Nineteen patients were included in this prospective cohort study. Atrial fibrillation had persisted for 40 months in the group with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation (n = 12) and 6 months in the group with persistent atrial fibrillation (n = 7). Surgery for atrial fibrillation was performed according to the Cox-Maze IV procedure in the CURE-AF protocol. Follow-up in the first 12 months was strictly according to the CURE-AF protocol, thereafter conducted by the primary health service. RESULTS Sinus rhythm was restored in 11 patients at the time of discharge and in 14 patients six months postoperatively. After 5–6 years of follow-up, all patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation had experienced recurrence. Two achieved sinus rhythm after electroconversion. Six of the seven in the group with persistent atrial fibrillation had sinus rhythm after 5–6 years. INTERPRETATION The results were good initially, with restoration of sinus rhythm in more than two thirds of the patients after 6–9 months. Five years later, a high recurrence rate was found in patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation. Several recurrences had not been detected by the public health service or treatment had not been attempted.