BACKGROUND:In recent years left atrial approaches have become popular because of technical simplicity, reproducibility and minor surgical trauma compared to the standard maze procedure. We analysed mid-term results of intraoperative left radiofrequency ablation of atrial fibrillation.METHODS:From February 1998 to August 2002, 206 patients (mean age 59.1 +/- 10.2 years) scheduled for open-heart surgery underwent combined treatment of atrial fibrillation at our Institution. In 163 patients (79.1%) a standard left epicardial approach was performed while 43 patients (20.9%) needed a totally endocardial approach.RESULTS:All patients but 3 underwent mitral valve surgery (104 repair and 99 replacement). Hospital mortality was 1.9%. Actuarial freedom from atrial fibrillation was 78% at 2 years and 74% at 4 years. At 4 years survival was 94% and freedom from neurological events was 98%. All patients with stable sinus rhythm 3 months after surgery recovered biatrial contractility.CONCLUSIONS:Left radiofrequency ablation of atrial fibrillation is effective in restoring sinus rhythm and normal atrial function. Combined atrial fibrillation treatment should be considered in all patients undergoing open-heart surgery.
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