Atrial ectopy predicts late recurrence of atrial fibrillation after pulmonary vein isolation

Uffe J. O. Gang, Chrishan J. Nalliah, Toon Wei Lim, Aravinda Thiagalingam, Pramesh Kovoor, David L. Ross, Stuart P. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Late recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) after radiofrequency ablation remains significant. Asymptomatic recurrence poses a difficult clinical problem as it is associated with an equally increased risk of stroke and death compared with symptomatic AF events. Meta-analyses reveal that no single preablation patient characteristic efficiently predicts these AF recurrences. This study aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of premature atrial complex (PAC) occurrence with regard to the risk of late AF recurrence after radiofrequency ablation.

Methods and Results: The study cohort consisted of 124 patients with 7-day Holter recordings at 6 months post radiofrequency ablation for AF. No patients had AF recurrence before this time. Patients were followed-up every 6 months. Holter-detected PACs were defined as any supraventricular complexes occurring >30% earlier than expected. During a median follow-up of 4.2 years (first quartile to third quartile [Q1-Q3]=1.6-4.5), 32 patients (26%) had late recurrences of AF at a median of 462 days (Q1-Q3=319-1026) post radiofrequency ablation. The number of PACs per 24 hours was 248 (Q1-Q3=62-1026) in patients with and 77 (Q1-Q3=24-448) in patients without recurrence of AF (P=0.02). Multivariate analysis of the risk of late AF recurrence found ≥142 PACs per 24 hours to have a hazard ratio 2.84 (confidence interval, 1.26-6.43), P=0.01.

Conclusions: This study showed that occurrence of ≥142 PACs per day at 6 months after PVI was independently associated with a significantly increased risk of late AF recurrence. These results could have important clinical implications for the design of post-PVI follow-up.

Clinical Trial Registration: URL: Unique identifier: ACRTN12606000467538.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-74
Number of pages6
JournalCirculation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • post-PVI recurrence of atrial fibrillation
  • premature atrial complexes
  • pulmonary vein isolation
  • radiofrequency ablation


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