Variability and Utilization of Concomitant Atrial Fibrillation Ablation During Mitral Valve Surgery

J. Hunter Mehaffey, Elizabeth Krebs, Robert B. Hawkins, Eric J. Charles, Shawn Tsutsui, Irving L. Kron, Alan M. Speir, Mohammed Quader, Leora Yarboro, Kenan Yount, Gorav Ailawadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Concomitant surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) at the time of mitral valve surgery is a Society of Thoracic Surgeons Class IA recommendation with evidence from randomized trial data. We hypothesized that concomitant AF ablation rates have increased over time with implementation of this evidence-based practice. Methods: All patients (N = 7261) undergoing mitral valve operations (2011-2018) were queried from a regional Society of Thoracic Surgeons database. Patients with preoperative AF were stratified by concomitant AF ablation. Trends in concomitant ablation were evaluated over time as well as by center and surgeon mitral surgical volume. The associations between patient and center factors on implementation of concomitant ablation were assessed with multivariate regression. Results: A total of 1675 patients with preoperative AF underwent isolated mitral valve operations, with 1044 (64.6%) undergoing concomitant ablation. The utilization of concomitant ablation decreased over the study period (-2.82%/year), and was strongly associated with surgeon mitral valve volume (high 78.2% vs medium 62.5% vs low 59.0%; P < .001). Multivariate regression demonstrated age and comorbidities were strong predictors, but high volume mitral surgeons (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; P < .001) were twice as likely to perform concomitant AF ablation. Finally, patients with preoperative AF undergoing ablation were significantly less likely to be in AF at discharge (10.1% vs 53.8%; P < .001). Conclusions: Despite increasing evidence and societal recommendations, we demonstrate a persistent underutilization of concomitant AF ablation during isolated mitral surgery across a large number of low-volume and high-volume centers. These data suggest significant variability and may represent an opportunity for improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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