Contemporary utilization and safety outcomes of catheter ablation of atrial flutter in the United States: Analysis of 89,638 procedures

Nileshkumar J. Patel, Abhishek Deshmukh, Dhaval Pau, Vishal Goyal, Samir V. Patel, Nilay Patel, Kanishk Agnihotri, Samuel Asirvatham, Peter Noseworthy, Luigi Di Biase, Andrea Natale, Juan F. Viles-Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background Atrial flutter (AFL) ablation has been increasingly offered as first-line therapy and safely performed over the last decades. However, limited data exist regarding current utilization and trends in adverse outcomes arising from this procedure. Objective The aim of our study was to examine the frequency of adverse events attributable to AFL ablation and influence of hospital volume on safety outcomes. Methods Data were obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest all-payer inpatient dataset in the United States. Patients with AFL who underwent catheter ablation from 2000 to 2011 were identified using ICD-9 codes. In-hospital death and common complications were identified, including cardiac perforation and tamponade, pneumothorax, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and vascular access complications. Results A total of 89,638 AFL patients were treated with catheter ablation during our study period. Total number of ablations performed increased by 154% from 2000 to 2011. The in-hospital mortality rate was 0.17% and the overall complication rate was 3.17%. Cardiac complications (1.44%) were the most frequent, followed by respiratory (0.88%), vascular (0.78%), and neurological complications (0.05%). Low hospital volume (<50 procedures/year) was significantly associated with increased adverse outcomes. Overall frequency of complications per 100 ablation procedures increased from 2.86 in 2000 to 5.39 in 2011 (P <.001). Conclusions The overall complication rate was 3.17% in patients undergoing AFL ablation. There was a significant association between low hospital volume and increased adverse outcomes. This suggests a need for future research into identifying the safety measures in AFL ablations and instituting appropriate interventions to improve overall AFL ablation outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1317-1325
Number of pages9
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Ablation
  • Atrial flutter
  • Complications
  • Safety
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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