Ileana L. Piña, MD, MPH; Hugh G. Calkins, MD


November 04, 2013

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Ileana L. Piña, MD, MPH: Hello. I am Ileana Piña from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, and this is my blog. I am thrilled to have Hugh Calkins here from Johns Hopkins University, who is now President of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS). He is visiting New York to talk about arrhythmias and arrhythmia management, so we took the opportunity to bring him in so that he can tell us about an atrial fibrillation (AF) study[1] that is quite interesting. That is the conversation we are going to have today.

Welcome. It is so nice of you to come by and spend some time with us. AF is so common, and I have talked to our audience before about issues with AF and how it is not just benign. Some say, "Oh yeah, they have AF. I will just control their heart rate." And that is it. But this study casts a different light on a procedure. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Hugh G. Calkins, MD: The study is a large registry from the Intermountain Health Center. I think we are all aware of this fantastic health center in Utah, where they have a very robust database. They use it to try to address questions that come up, so they looked at 10,000 patients without AF.

Dr. Piña: In the community?

Dr. Calkins: In the community in their database. They took 10,000 patients without AF and 5000 patients with AF who had undergone catheter ablation, and they looked at stroke risk during 3 years of follow-up. They showed that patients without AF had a relatively low stroke risk. For patients with AF, the stroke risk was significantly increased, and patients who had had catheter ablation of AF had a stroke rate that was very similar to that of the general population without AF. That was sort of the headline of the study, that perhaps catheter ablation of AF somehow reduces stroke risk in patients with AF.


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