Background-We previously demonstrated that treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) during the first 6 weeks after atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation reduces the incidence of clinically significant atrial arrhythmias and need for cardioversion or hospitalization for arrhythmia management. Whether early rhythm suppression decreases longer-term arrhythmia recurrence is unknown. We now report the 6-month follow-up data from this study. Methods and Results-The Antiarrhythmics After Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation study prospectively randomized patients with paroxysmal AF undergoing ablation to either receive (AAD group) or not receive (no-AAD group) AAD treatment for the first 6 weeks after ablation; all patients received atrioventricular nodal blockers. Physicians were encouraged to stop the AADs after the 6-week treatment period. All patients underwent 4 weeks of transtelephonic monitoring to document asymptomatic AF and an evaluation at 6 weeks and 6 months. A total of 110 patients (71% men) aged 55=9 years were randomized, with 53 to AAD and 57 to no AAD. At 6 months, there was no difference in freedom from AF between the early AAD and no-AAD groups (38/53 [72%] versus 39/57 [68%]; P=0.84). Lack of early AF recurrence during the initial 6-week period was the only independent predictor of 6-month freedom from AF (64/76 [84%] without early recurrence versus 13/34 [38%] with early recurrence; P=0.0001). Conclusions-Although short-term use of AADs after AF ablation decreases early recurrence of atrial arrhythmias, early use of AADs does not prevent arrhythmia recurrence at 6 months. Early AF recurrence on or off AADs during the initial 6-week blanking period is a strong independent predictor of long-term AF recurrence. Clinical Trial Registration-URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00408200.
- Antiarrhythmia agents
- Atrial fibrillation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)