Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Data on long-term risk and mortality after catheter ablation for AF are lacking. The aim of this study was to evaluate all-cause mortality and the long-term risk of death in patients who underwent catheter ablation for AF compared with the general population.
Retrospective, population-based epidemiological study.
We analysed data from patients residing in Apulia region who underwent AF ablation between January 2009 and June 2019.
1260 patients (914 male, mean age 60±11 years).
Vital status and dates of death to 31 December 2019 were obtained by using regional Health Information System. The expected number of deaths was derived using mortality rates from the general regional population by considering age-specific and gender-specific death probability provided for each calendar year by the Italian National Institute of Statistics. Standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated by dividing the observed number of deaths among patients by the expected number of deaths estimated from the general population.
During follow-up (6449 person-years), 95 deaths were observed (1.47 deaths per 100 person-years). Although overall long-term mortality after AF ablation was not different to that of the general population (SMR 1.05 (95% CI 0.86 to 1.28; p=0.658)), the number of observed events was significantly increased in patients with heart failure (HF) at baseline or who developed HF during follow-up (SMR 2.40 (1.69 to 3.41; p<0.001) and 1.75 (1.17 to 2.64; p=0.007), respectively) and reduced in those without (SMR 0.63 (0.47 to 0.86; p=0.003)).
Long-term mortality of patients undergoing AF ablation is similar to that of the general population. Patients with HF had an increased risk while those without seem to have a better risk profile.

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