Despite recent advances in catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF), pulmonary vein reconnection (PVR), and AF recurrence remain significantly high. Ablation index (AI) is a new method incorporating contact force, time, and power that should optimize procedural outcomes. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of AI-guided catheter ablation compared to a non-AI-guided approach.
A systematic search was performed on MEDLINE (via PubMED), EMBASE, COCHRANE, and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) databases (from inception to 1 July 2019). We included only studies that compared AI-guided with non-AI-guided catheter ablation of AF. Eleven studies reporting on 2306 patients were identified. Median follow-up period was 12 months. Ablation index-guided ablation had a significant shorter procedural time (141.0 vs. 152.8 min, P = 0.01; I2 = 90%), ablation time (21.8 vs. 32.0 min, P < 0.00001; I2 = 0%), achieved first-pass isolation more frequently [odds ratio (OR) = 0.09, 95%CI 0.04-0.21; 93.4% vs. 62.9%, P < 0.001; I2 = 58%] and was less frequently associated with acute PVR (OR = 0.37, 95%CI 0.18-0.75; 18.0% vs 35.0%; P = 0.006; I2 = 0%). Importantly, atrial arrhythmia relapse post-blanking was significantly lower in AI compared to non-AI catheter ablation (OR = 0.41, 95%CI 0.25-0.66; 11.8% vs. 24.9%, P = 0.0003; I2 = 35%). Finally, there was no difference in complication rate between AI and non-AI ablation, with the number of cardiac tamponade events in the AI group less being numerically lower (OR = 0.69, 95%CI 0.30-1.60, 1.6% vs. 2.5%, P = 0.39; I2 = 0%).
These data suggest that AI-guided catheter ablation is associated with increased efficacy of AF ablation, while preserving a comparable safety profile to non-AI catheter ablation.

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