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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Ablation Versus Medical Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation in the Elderly: A Propensity Score-Matched Comparison

Haixiong Wang, Xin Du, Lizhu Guo, Xueyuan Guo, Yingwei Chen, Shijun Xia, Sanshuai Chang, Jianhong Pan, Jianzeng Dong, Chang-Sheng Ma

Department of Cardiology, Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, National Clinical Research Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:9875-9881

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.917755

Available online:

Published: 2019-12-23


BACKGROUND: Whether ablation therapy reduces the risk of death and embolic events in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) remains unclear.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: AF patients ≥65 years old receiving either catheter ablation or non-ablation therapy at 2 tertiary and 2 non-tertiary hospitals in Beijing from November 2009 to December 2012 were enrolled. Patients were followed up every 6 months for information on treatment and clinical event occurrence. A propensity score matching algorithm produced comparable 2 groups of patients treated with ablation or non-ablation. Rates of a composite of all-cause death, non-fatal stroke, and peripheral embolism were the primary outcomes. Each composite component and major bleeding were the secondary outcomes.
RESULTS: There were 596 ablated patients and 1144 patients with non-ablation therapy enrolled. Propensity score algorithm matched 347 comparable pairs of patients. Patient characteristics variables were well balanced. During 523.5 and 497.5 patient-years follow-up, respectively, ablation therapy was associated with a significant lower risk of experiencing the primary composite outcome (hazard ratio [HR]=0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.19-0.85), all-cause death (HR=0.13 95% CI: 0.04-0.43), and major bleeding (HR=0.23; 95% CI: 0.12-0.67), without apparent heterogeneity by age, sex, and AF type, and for risk score subgroups.
CONCLUSIONS: In this propensity-matched elderly sample, ablation therapy was associated with lower risk of composite outcome consisting of all-cause death, non-fatal stroke, and peripheral embolism, and therefore might be an alternative to conservative therapy.

Keywords: Atrial Fibrillation, Catheter Ablation, China, propensity score