Heart Rhythm Society Releases Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

An International Task Force Composed of Experts Representing Seven Organizations Publishes Up-to-Date Recommendations for AF Ablation in the March Edition of HeartRhythm Journal

March 06, 2012

Media Contact

Shane Osborne
Heart Rhythm Society
media@hrsonline.org
202-464-3431

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2012 —  The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), written in joint partnership with European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Cardiac Arrhythmia Society (ECAS), issues an international consensus statement on indications, techniques and outcomes of catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF).

The HRS/EHRA/ECAS Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of AF is an update to the first AF consensus document released in 2007, and is published in the March edition of HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society. The new statement was written in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Heart Association (AHA), the Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS) and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS).

AF is one of the most common heart rhythm disorders affecting more than 2.5 million Americans and millions more around the world. Today, catheter and surgical ablation of AF are common, rapidly evolving procedures. The HRS/EHRA/ECAS expert consensus statement includes recommendations for patient selection, procedure techniques, management and follow-up, new definitions and research trial design, among other updates.

“It is without question that AF is a growing heart health issue requiring state-of-the-art treatment to ensure the best possible outcome,” stated co-lead author of the statement, Hugh Calkins, MD, FHRS, CCDS, first vice president of the Heart Rhythm Society, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of cardiac arrhythmia services and the electrophysiology laboratory at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. “As we continue to learn more about the treatment of AF, it is important to update our resources accordingly, and in this case, our document is intended to improve patient care by providing the most current foundation of knowledge for those involved in catheter and surgical ablation of AF.”

HRS convened a diverse panel of 45 experts representing seven international organizations to focus on the most recent advancements in the field of catheter and surgical ablation. The expert consensus statement includes 11 topic areas:

     • AF definitions, mechanisms and rationale for ablation
     • Indications for catheter and surgical ablation of AF
     • Techniques and endpoints for AF ablation
     • Technologies and tools
     • Other technical aspects; anticoagulation, anesthesia and esophageal monitoring
     • Follow-up considerations
     • Outcomes and efficacy of AF ablation
     • Complications
     • Training requirements and competencies
     • Surgical ablation of AF
     • Clinical trial considerations and definitions
Specifically, the statement provides notable updates in the areas of indications and techniques. These updates include, but are not limited to the following:
     • The addition of class and level of grades of indications for catheter and surgical ablation of AF when performed by an electrophysiologist or surgeon who has received the proper training and/or has a certain level of experience.
     • The specific recommendations regarding the management of anticoagulation strategies before, during and post-ablation, including information on newer anticoagulants.
     • A list of 53 definitions intended to guide clinical research.

“It is important to note the highly collaborative nature of this document and the comprehensive recommendations that have been put forth by an international panel of experts in our field,” stated Bruce L. Wilkoff, MD, FHRS, CCDS, president of Heart Rhythm Society. “This statement, along with other consensus documents issued on an annual basis, is intended to provide a uniformed standard of care with the goal of improving the overall safety and efficacy of patient care around the world.”

About the Heart Rhythm Society

The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science, education and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education and optimal health care policies and standards. Incorporated in 1979 and based in Washington, DC, it has a membership of more than 5,900 heart rhythm professionals in more than 70 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.HRSonline.org.

About the HeartRhythm Journal

HeartRhythm provides rapid publication of the most important science developments in the field of arrhythmias and cardiovascular electrophysiology (EP). As the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, HeartRhythm publishes both basic and clinical subject matter of scientific excellence devoted to the EP of the heart and blood vessels, as well as therapy. The journal is the only EP publication serving the entire electrophysiology community from basic to clinical academic researchers, private practitioners, technicians, industry and trainees. HeartRhythm Journal has an impact factor of 4.246 (as of 2011) and ranks 23rd out of 114 cardiovascular medicine journals worldwide by the Institute for Scientific Information, remaining the number one specialty journal in cardiology. It is also the official publication of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.