Can common-type atrial flutter be a sign of an arrhythmogenic substrate in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation? Clinical and ablative consequences in patients with coexistent paroxysmal atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter.Circulation. 2007 Dec 11; 116(24):2786-92.Circ
The coexistence of atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL) is well recognized. AF precedes the onset of AFL in almost all instances. We evaluated the effect of 2 ablation strategies in patients with paroxysmal AF (PAF) and AFL.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Ninety-eight patients with PAF/AFL were prospectively recruited to undergo pulmonary vein cryoisolation (PVI). Those with at least 1 episode of sustained common-type AFL were assigned to cavotricuspid isthmus cryoablation followed by a 6-week monitoring period and a subsequent PVI (n=36; group I). Patients with PAF only underwent PVI (n=62; group II). The study included 76 men with a mean age of 50+/-10 years. Most patients (76 [78%]) had no structural heart disease. When the 2 groups were compared, residual AF after a blanking period of 3 months after PVI occurred in 24 patients (67%) in group I versus 7 (11%) in group II (P<0.05).
In patients with PAF and no documented common-type AFL, PVI alone prevented the occurrence of AF in 82%, whereas in patients with AFL/PAF, cavotricuspid isthmus cryoablation and PVI were used successfully to treat sustained common-type AFL but appeared to be insufficient to prevent recurrences of AF. In this population, AFL can be a sign that non-pulmonary vein triggers are the culprit behind AF or that sufficient electrical remodeling has already occurred in both atria, and thus a strategy that includes substrate modification may be required.