Management of arrhythmia recurrence in patients with pulmonary vein stenosis following atrial fibrillation ablation

Thomas Fink*, Roland Richard Tilz, Christian Hendrik Heeger, Michael Schlüter, Sebastian Feickert, Laura Rottner, Bruno Reissmann, Christine Lemes, Hannes Alessandrini, Tilman Maurer, Shibu Mathew, Andreas Rillig, Andreas Metzner, Feifan Ouyang, Karl Heinz Kuck

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Arrhythmia recurrence is a common clinical problem in patients with pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS) following catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation. The study sought to analyse the management of arrhythmia recurrence in patients with PVS. Methods and results: Retrospective analysis was performed on 29 patients with high-degree PVS. Follow-up contained clinical visits, Holter-electrocardiogram recordings and invasive pulmonary vein (PV) angiography and electrophysiological studies. Arrhythmia recurrence was observed in 18 patients (62%) after PVS formation. Fifteen of 18 patients (83.3%) with and 1 of 11 patients (9.1%) without arrhythmia recurrence had electrical PV reconnection (P = 0.0003). In 14 of 16 patients repeat pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) was conducted (radiofrequency ablation in 12 and cryoballoon ablation in 2 cases). Repeat PVI was successful in all PVs in nine patients and incomplete in five patients (failed attempt in two patients with stent implantation, no attempt in three patients with stenotic PVs). Freedom from arrhythmia recurrence was estimated at 56.3% [95% confidence interval (CI) 36.4-72.0%] after 24 months. At the end of the follow-up, complete PVI was documented in 19 of 23 patients (82.6%) with stable sinus rhythm and in 2 of 6 patients with arrhythmia recurrence (33.3%) (P = 0.0335). The Kaplan-Meier estimate of recurrence-free survival of restenosis after interventional PVS treatment was similar in patients without and with repeat ablation [75.6% (95% CI 57.0-94.3%) and 67.0% (95% CI 43.2-90.7%) after 500 days, P = 0.77]. Conclusions: Pulmonary vein reconnection is the major driver of arrhythmia recurrence in PVS patients. Repeat PVI is feasible and does not lead to progression of PVS or restenosis if the procedure is carefully performed.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1494-1501
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2019


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