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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 1995 Oct;6(10 Pt 2):972-8.

Nonpharmacologic approaches to the treatment of atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.

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1
Cardiovascular Division, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.

Abstract

The high prevalence of atrial fibrillation, the associated morbidity and mortality, the absence of safe and effective drug therapy, and an increased understanding of the pathophysiologic basis of atrial fibrillation and flutter have collectively led to the development of novel nonpharmacologic treatments for the management of these arrhythmias, including the CORRIDOR and MAZE surgical procedures, catheter-based ablation and modification of AV conduction, catheter-based ablation of atrial flutter and fibrillation, and internal atrial defibrillation. These surgical and catheter-based techniques offer potentially curative therapy while sparing the long-term risk of antiarrhythmic drug therapy. For patients with typical atrial flutter, catheter ablation affords to cure rate in excess of 70%. As technological innovations further facilitate identification and ablation of the critical isthmus in the floor of the right atrium, success rates should improve substantially. For patients with atrial fibrillation, AV junction ablation with implantation of a rate-responsive ventricular pacemaker should be considered palliative therapy, as should modification of AV junction conduction. The MAZE procedure offers very high cure rates, but because it currently involves open heart surgery, patient selection is critical. Catheter-based procedures emulating aspects of the MAZE procedure may one day offer cure rates comparable to those of the surgery itself, but additional research and technological development are necessary to further define and refine the minimal effective procedure, and then to facilitate the placement of contiguous, full-thickness lesions in precise three-dimensional configurations. In the interim, the implantable automatic atrial defibrillator may offer a means for rapidly restoring sinus rhythm without the risks of long-term antiarrhythmic drug therapy.

PMID:
8548118
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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