Thromboembolic Risk in Atrial Fibrillation Patients With Left Atrial Scar Post-Extensive Ablation: A Single-Center Experience

Sanghamitra Mohanty, Chintan Trivedi, Domenico G. Della Rocca, Faiz M. Baqai, Alisara Anannab, Carola Gianni, Bryan MacDonald, Angel Quintero Mayedo, Mohamed Bassiouny, G. Joseph Gallinghouse, John D. Burkhardt, Rodney Horton, Amin Al-Ahmad, Luigi Di Biase, Andrea Natale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study evaluated the association of the post-ablation scar with stroke risk in patients undergoing atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. Background: Late gadolinium enhancement–cardiac magnetic resonance studies have reported a direct association between pre-ablation left atrial scar and thromboembolic events in patients with AF. Methods: Consecutive patients with AF were classified into 2 groups based on the type of ablation performed at the first procedure. Group 1 involved limited ablation (isolation of pulmonary veins, left atrial posterior wall, and superior vena cava); and group 2 involved extensive ablation (limited ablation + ablation of nonpulmonary vein triggers from all sites except left atrial appendage). During the repeat procedure, post-ablation scar (region with bipolar voltage amplitude <0.5 mV) was identified by using 3-dimensional voltage mapping. Results: A total of 6,297 patients were included: group 1, n = 1,713; group 2, n = 4,584. Group 2 patients were significantly older and had more nonparoxysmal AF. Nineteen (0.3%) thromboembolic events were reported after the first ablation procedure: 9 (1.02%) in group 1 and 10 (0.61%) in group 2 (p = 0.26). At the time of the event, all 19 patients were experiencing arrhythmia. Median time to stroke was 14 (interquartile range: 9 to 20) months in group 1 and 14.5 (interquartile range: 8 to 18) months in group 2. Post-ablation scar data were derived from 2,414 patients undergoing repeat ablation. Mean scar area was detected as 67.1 ± 4.6% in group 2 and 34.9 ± 8.8% in group 1 at the redo procedure (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Differently from the cardiac magnetic resonance–detected pre-ablation scar, scar resulting from extensive ablation was not associated with increased risk of stroke compared with that from the limited ablation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-318
Number of pages11
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • left atrial scar
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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