Rebooting atrial fibrillation ablation in the COVID-19 pandemic

Chirag R. Barbhaiya, Lalit Wadhwani, Arun Manmadhan, Ahmed Selim, Robert J. Knotts, Alexander Kushnir, Michael Spinelli, Lior Jankelson, Scott Bernstein, David Park, Douglas Holmes, Anthony Aizer, Larry A. Chinitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Catheter ablation procedures for atrial fibrillation (AF) were significantly curtailed during the peak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to conserve healthcare resources and limit exposure. There is little data regarding peri-procedural outcomes of medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. We enacted protocols to safely reboot AF ablation while limiting healthcare resource utilization. We aimed to evaluate acute and subacute outcomes of protocols instituted for reboot of AF ablation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Perioperative healthcare utilization and acute procedural outcomes were analyzed for consecutive patients undergoing AF ablation under COVID-19 protocols (2020 cohort; n=111) and compared to those of patients who underwent AF ablation during the same time period in 2019 (2019 cohort; n=200). Newly implemented practices included preoperative COVID-19 testing, selective transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), utilization of venous closure, and same-day discharge when clinically appropriate. Results: Pre-ablation COVID-19 testing was positive in 1 of 111 patients. There were 0 cases ablation-related COVID-19 transmission and 0 major complications in either cohort. Pre-procedure TEE was performed in significantly fewer 2020 cohort patients compared to the 2019 cohort patients (68.4% vs. 97.5%, p <0.001, respectively) despite greater prevalence of persistent arrhythmia in the 2020 cohort. Same-day discharge was achieved in 68% of patients in the 2020 cohort, compared to 0% of patients in the 2019 cohort. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of safe resumption of complex electrophysiology procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing healthcare utilization and maintaining quality of care. Protocols instituted may be generalizable to other types of procedures and settings. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Catheter ablation
  • COVID
  • Procedural outcomes
  • Radiofrequency ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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