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The Lead Episode 17: A Discussion of Procedure-Related Complications of Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
In this study, online publication databases were searched for randomized trials that included patients undergoing a first ablation procedure of atrial fibrillation using either radiofrequency or cryoballoon. A total of 1,468 references were retrieved, of which 89 studies met the inclusion criteria, yielding a total of 15,701 patients included in the analysis. The reported overall and severe procedure-related complication rates were 4.51% and 2.44%, respectively. Vascular complications were the most frequent type of complication (1.31%). The next most common complications were pericardial effusion/tamponade (0.78%) and stroke/transient ischemic attack (0.17%). The procedure-related complication rate during the most recent 5-year period of publication was significantly lower than during the earlier 5-year period (3.77% vs 5.31%). The pooled mortality rate was stable over the 2 time periods (0.06% vs 0.05%). There was no significant difference in complication rate according to pattern of AF, ablation modality, or ablation strategies beyond pulmonary vein isolation. The authors conclude that procedure-related complications and mortality rates associated with catheter ablation of AF are low and have declined in the past decade.
Learning Objectives
  • To understand and evaluate the recently published manuscript, entitled "Procedure-related complications of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation."
Article Authors and Podcast Contributors
Article Authors
Karim Benali, Paul Khairy, Nefissa Hammache, Adrian Petzl, Antoine Da Costa, Atul Verma, Jason G. Andrade, MD, Laurent Macle, MD

Podcast Contributors
William H. Sauer, MD, FHRS, CCDS, of Brigham and Women's Hospital
Bruce A. Koplan, MD, MPH, FHRS, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Victor Nauffal, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital
Disclosure Policy

ACE Disclosure Policy

The Heart Rhythm Society is committed to the provision of Accredited Continuing Education (formerly known as Continuing Medical Education (CME)) that is balanced, objective, and evidence based. HRS adheres to the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) which require that those individuals in a position to control the content of an educational activity (including, but not limited to, planners, faculty, authors, committee members, content reviewers, editors, and staff) disclose all financial relationships with an ACCME-defined ineligible company* within the 24 months prior to the disclosure.


Any individual who refuses to disclose financial relationships is disqualified from participating in HRS ACE-certified activities. Owners and employees of ACCME-defined ineligible companies may have no role in the planning or implementation of ACE activities without a special written exemption from the HRS Chief Learning Officer that will be granted only in specific circumstances that meet ACCME requirements.

ACCME Definition:

*An ineligible company is one whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

Examples of such organizations include:

  • Advertising, marketing, or communication firms whose clients are ineligible companies
  • Bio-medical startups that have begun a governmental regulatory approval process
  • Compounding pharmacies that manufacture proprietary compounds
  • Device manufacturers or distributors
  • Diagnostic labs that sell proprietary products
  • Growers, distributors, manufacturers or sellers of medical foods and dietary supplements
  • Manufacturers of health-related wearable products
  • Pharmaceutical companies or distributors
  • Pharmacy benefit managers
  • Reagent manufacturers or sellers


All relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Host Disclosure(s):
W. Sauer: Honoraria/Speaking/Consulting Fee: Biotronik, Biosense Webster, Inc., Abbott, Boston Scientific; Research (Contracted Grants for PIs Named Investigators Only): Medtronic

Contributor Disclosure(s):
B. Koplan: Honoraria/Speaking/Consulting Fee: GE Healthcare
V. Nauffal: No relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies to disclose. 

Staff Disclosure(s) (note: HRS staff are NOT in control of educational content. Disclosures are provided solely for full transparency to the learner):
J. Glenn: No relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies to disclose. 
S. Sailor: No relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies to disclose.
Availability: On-Demand
Cost: FREE
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