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Editorial
March 15, 2019

Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: Lessons Learned From CABANA

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2019;321(13):1255-1257. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.17478

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance, with an estimated 33.5 million people affected worldwide.1 By age 75 years, more than 10% of the population will have developed AF.2 It is well recognized that AF increases the risk of thromboembolic stroke3; however, AF also increases the risk of other highly morbid conditions such as heart failure (HF).4 As a result, even in the modern era of anticoagulation, mortality rates among patients with AF remain up to 2-fold higher than mortality rates among individuals without AF.4,5 For many patients, AF also has a major detrimental effect on quality of life, similar to that observed in patients with coronary artery disease requiring percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or after a myocardial infarction.6 Symptoms from AF, which include, but are not limited to, palpitations, dyspnea, and exercise intolerance, are the primary reason that patients seek medical treatment, and physicians treat AF-related symptoms with a therapeutic armamentarium that includes rate control agents, antiarrhythmic drugs, and catheter ablation. Therefore, clinicians hope to achieve 2 potential goals with current therapies directed at AF: to improve quality of life and to decrease AF-related morbidity and mortality.

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