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Understanding the Expert Consensus Recommendations on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

Authors: Hugh Calkins, MDFaculty and Disclosures


Editor's Note

A collaborative, 26-member international Task Force, convened jointly by the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), and European Cardiac Arrhythmia Society (ECAS), recently released a Consensus Statement[1] on catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) that defines and summarizes the state-of-the-art in technology, patient care, and outcomes reporting for AF ablation. The document, developed in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA), and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), provides a detailed review of current AF ablation technology and specific recommendations for all aspects of the procedure, ranging from patient indications to techniques and endpoints, anticoagulation, complications, and physician training. In addition, it is the first attempt to provide standard protocols for AF clinical trials, covering both trial design and outcomes reporting.

Recently, Medscape contributing writer Mary Thompson spoke at length with Task Force Chair Hugh Calkins, MD, FACC, FAHA, FHRS, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Electrophysiology Lab at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, Maryland), about the Consensus Statement and what it means for physicians who care for patients with AF. According to Dr. Calkins, the tremendous increase in the number of AF ablation procedures being performed, and the risks inherent in this difficult procedure, necessitated the development of these specific, timely recommendations to help ensure patient safety and the best possible outcomes. This Consensus Statement, he says, is designed to aid anyone involved in either referring patients for AF ablation procedures, caring for patients after AF ablation, or performing AF ablation.

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