Background: The creation of effective and permanent lesions is a crucial factor in determining the success rate of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. By increasing the efficacy of radiofrequency (RF) energy-mediated lesion formation, half-normal saline (HNS) as an irrigant for open-irrigated ablation catheters has the potential to reduce procedural times and improve acute and long-term outcomes. Methods: This is a double-blind randomized clinical trial of 99 patients undergoing first-time RF catheter ablation for AF. Patients enrolled were randomly assigned in a 1:1 fashion to perform ablation using HNS or normal saline (NS) as an irrigant for the ablation catheter. Results: The use of HNS is associated with shorter RF times (26 vs. 33 min; p =.02) with comparable procedure times (104 vs. 104 min). The rate of acute pulmonary vein reconnections (16% vs. 18%) was comparable, with a median of 1 vein reconnection in the HNS arm versus 2 in the NS arm. There was no difference in procedure-related complications, including the incidence of postprocedural hyponatremia when using HNS. Over the 1-year follow-up, there is no significant difference between the HNS and NS with respect to the recurrence of any atrial arrhythmia (off antiarrhythmic drugs [AAD]: 47% vs. 52%; hazard ratio [HR]: 1.17, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66–2.06; off/on AAD: 66% vs. 66%, HR: 1.06, 95% CI: 0.53–2.12), with a potential benefit of using HNS when considering the paroxysmal AF cohort (on/off AAD 73% vs. 62%, HR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.19–2.70). Conclusions: In a mixed cohort of patients undergoing first-time AF ablation, irrigation of open-irrigated RF ablation catheters with HNS is associated with shorter RF times, with a comparably low rate of procedure-related complications. In the long term, there is no significant difference with respect to the recurrence of any atrial arrhythmia. Larger studies with a more homogeneous population are necessary to determine whether HNS improves clinical outcomes.
- atrial fibrillation ablation
- half-normal saline
- irrigated tip ablation catheter
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)