Cardiac Rhythm Disorders

Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation Ablation, Volume

2014 — 2018

Atrial fibrillation ablation, also called pulmonary vein antrum isolation (PVAI), is a treatment for patients with atrial fibrillation. The procedure essentially disconnects the pathway an abnormal heart rhythm follows through the heart and prevents atrial fibrillation. The number of atrial fibrillation ablations performed at Cleveland Clinic continues to increase every year.

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Success Rates for Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Success of atrial fibrillation ablation is defined as a restored sinus rhythm without recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) after the patient has stopped taking antiarrhythmic medications for at least 12 months after the procedure. This is influenced by a number of factors, including the length of time the patient has been in AF and the presence or absence of underlying heart disease. In a recent study¹ of 831 patients who underwent atrial fibrillation ablation at Cleveland Clinic, 81% of patients with paroxysmal AF were arrhythmia-free while off antiarrhythmic drugs at 12 months postablation.


  1. Hussein et al. Natural history and long-term outcomes of ablated atrial fibrillation. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2011 Jun;4(3):271-278.
Complications of Atrial Fibrillation Ablation


The overall riskᵃ associated with atrial fibrillation ablation at Cleveland Clinic in the current reported year was 1.6%, which is lower than the benchmark rate of 4.5%¹.

N Percent Benchmark Rate (%)
Major Complications 18 1.6 4.5

ᵃThe percentage of overall risk was calculated by dividing the total number of complications (N = 18) by the total number of atrial fibrillation ablation procedures (N = 1120).


  1. Cappato et al. Updated worldwide survey on the methods, efficacy, and safety of catheter ablation for human atrial fibrillation. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2010 Feb;3(1):32-38.