Background Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is considered a curative procedure for typical atrial flutter (AFL); however, patients remain at risk for developing new atrial fibrillation (AF). Objective The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and predictors of new-onset AF and stroke after RFA of isolated AFL in a multicenter cohort. Methods The study included 315 consecutive patients who underwent successful RFA of isolated, typical AFL from 2006 to 2013 at 4 community and teaching hospitals. Patients with any history of AF prior to RFA were excluded. Results During 2.5 ± 1.8 years of follow-up after RFA, 80 patients (25%) developed new AF. In multivariate analysis, after adjusting for baseline medical therapy, obstructive sleep apnea and left atrial enlargement were independently associated with the development of new AF. Presence of a cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) was associated with a 3.6-fold (95% confidence interval 1.9–6.6, P <.0001) increase in the likelihood of AF detection. New AF was detected in 48% of patients with CIED and 35% of those who underwent Holter ECG vs 19% of those with clinical follow-up only (P <.0001). Anticoagulation was stopped in 58% patients an average of 3.3 ± 4.8 months after RFA. Stroke occurred in 3 patients (1%) during the follow-up period. Conclusion New AF occurs in ≥25% of patients after RFA of isolated typical AFL, but stroke is relatively rare. Obstructive sleep apnea and left atrial enlargement are risk factors for AF. The presence of a CIED significantly enhances the likelihood of detecting new AF, demonstrating the importance of arrhythmia surveillance after RFA of AFL.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial flutter
- Cardiac implantable electronic device
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Radiofrequency ablation