Ablation Doesn't Lower A-Fib Rates in Wolff-Parkinson-White

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Ablation Doesn't Lower A-Fib Rates in Wolff-Parkinson-White
Ablation Doesn't Lower A-Fib Rates in Wolff-Parkinson-White

MONDAY, May 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome who undergo catheter ablation are just as likely as non-ablated patients to develop atrial fibrillation (AF), regardless of age at ablation, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, held from May 4 to 7 in San Francisco.

Jared Bunch, M.D., from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, and colleagues included two WPW populations (872, ablation; 1,461, no ablation) and a 1:5 age- and gender-matched control population (11,175 individuals). WPW patients were followed for a median of 6.9 years.

The researchers found that the risk of incident AF was elevated in the WPW group versus the control group (hazard ratio, 1.55). The risk was lower for non-ablated WPW patients than for ablated patients (hazard ratio, 0.39). Compared with controls, younger ablated WPW patients had significantly higher rates of AF across all age strata, with less risk in older patients with more AF risk factors. Ablation did not lower AF risk across any age strata among WPW patients.

"When a lot of physicians encounter patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White and atrial fibrillation, they believe that if the accessory or extra pathway is treated and cured, then the risk of atrial fibrillation is removed," Bunch said in a statement. "Our findings unfortunately do not confirm that belief and suggest otherwise."

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