To explore the optimal ablation index (AI) parameters for radiofrequency catheter ablation (RA) for treating atrial fibrillation (AF).
Patients with AF (186) who underwent bilateral PVAI in the Department of Cardiology, Zhuhai People’s Hospital, Guangdong Province, from March 2018 to October 2019 and received catheter ablation as first-round treatment, were grouped according to the received AI. Control group included patients (95) who received the recommended AI ablation (350-400 for posterior wall, 400-450 for non-posterior wall). Patients in optimal AI group were ablated with optimal AI (300-330 for posterior wall, 350-380 for non-posterior wall). Recurrence was defined as any AF, atrial tachycardia, or atrial flutter lasting more than 30 seconds without anti-arrhythmic drugs after the 3-month blank period.
Of 186 patients, 66 patients had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and a mean CHADS-VASc score of 2.83±1.64. Isolation rates of bilateral PVI in both groups were 91.4% and 93.6%, for patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, and 81.7% and 80% for patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (P > 0.05). Left atrial function index (LAFI) decreased under the condition of sinus rhythm at the 3rd and 6th months (P < 0.05). LAFI improvement was significantly better in the optimal AI group than in the control group (P < 0.05). Rates of pain and cough during the ablation, and postoperative gastrointestinal discomfort and use of PPIs were higher in the control group (P 0.05).
Radiofrequency ablation of AF, guided by optimal AI combined with impedance, can minimize atrial injury, prevent atrial failure, promote the recovery of atrial function, reduces intraoperative cough, pain, and postoperative gastrointestinal discomfort and use of PPIs.

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