Totally thoracoscopic ablation for atrial fibrillation: a systematic safety analysis

Lara M Vos, Dipak Kotecha, Guillaume S C Geuzebroek, Frederik N Hofman, Wim Jan P van Boven, Johannes Kelder, Bas A J M de Mol, Bart P van Putte

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Aims: Thoracoscopic surgical ablation has evolved into a successful strategy for symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF) refractory to other therapy. More widespread referral is limited by the lack of information on potential complications. Our aim was to systematically evaluate 30-day complications of totally thoracoscopic surgical ablation.

Methods and results: We retrospectively studied consecutive patients undergoing totally thoracoscopic surgical ablation at a referral centre in the Netherlands (2007-2016). Patients received pulmonary vein isolation, with additional lesion lines as needed, and left atrial appendage exclusion. The primary outcomes were freedom from any complications and freedom from irreversible complications at 30-days. Secondary outcomes included intra- and post-operative complications according to severity. Included were 558 patients with median age 62 years (interquartile range 56-68 years), 70% male and 53% with a previous failed catheter ablation. The cohort consisted of 43% paroxysmal AF, 47% persistent AF, and 10% long-standing persistent AF. Freedom from any 30-day complication was 88.2%, and from complications with life-long affecting consequences 97.5%. The intra-operative complication rate was 2.3% with no strokes or death observed. The median hospital length of stay was 4 days. The percentage of patients with major and minor complications at 30-days was 3.2% and 8.1%, respectively, with one patient dying of an ischaemic stroke. The only patient groups with excess complications were women aged ≥70 years and patients with a history of congestive heart failure.

Conclusions: Totally thoracoscopic ablation is associated with a low complication rate in a referral centre and may be a useful alternative to other rhythm control strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date18 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2018


  • Journal Article


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