New guide clarifies role of ablation in AF

Ablation is increasingly being used to treat symptomatic AF, according to the National Heart Foundation of Australia (NHF) statement, but investigations suggest confusion exists about the role and optimal use of ablative treatments. 

Heart Foundation chief medical advisor Dr James Tatoulis said the role of the GP was extremely important because GPs regularly saw patients with AF. The consensus statement could be used as a guide as to whom GPs might consider referring on to a specialist cardiologist. 

The most common type of catheter ablation in Australia is radiofrequency ablation, recommended for patients with symptomatic AF after at least one Class 1 or Class 3 antiarrhythmic medication has failed. When selecting patients for the procedure, the NHF advises considering age, duration of AF, left atrial size and whether there is significant structural heart disease. 

Best results are achieved in younger patients with paroxysmal AF