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Video: When Drug Therapy Fails: Why Patients Consider Catheter Ablation

For Dr. Susan M. Sharma discusses why patients with atrial fibrillation turn to ablation when drug therapy doesn’t work. Presenting research findings by David J. Wilber and MD; Carlo Pappone, MD, Dr. Sharma discusses the success rates of drug therapy versus catheter ablation. (See transcript below.) (3:00 min.) Published by

YouTube video playback controls: When watching this video, you have several playback options. The following controls are located in the lower right portion of the frame: Turn on closed captions, Settings (speed/quality), Watch on YouTube website, and Enlarge video to full frame. Click an icon to select.

Transcript of this video
Transcript- Insidermedicine:

“Individuals suffering from atrial fibrillation that does not respond to a drug designed to treat heart rhythm disorders would likely do better with catheter ablation than with more drugs, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Here is some information about atrial fibrillation:

• It is the most common type of heart arrhythmia

• Untreated, it can lead to fatigue and stroke

• It can be treated with drugs that stabilize heart rhythm, called antiarrhythmics, or with catheter ablation, in which the section of the heart that is the source of the arrhythmia is burned away, or ablated.

Researchers from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood randomly assigned over 150 individuals with atrial fibrillation to treatment with antiarrhythmic drug therapy or catheter ablation. All of the individuals had taken an antiarrhythmic drug in the past without success.

At the end of a 9-month evaluation period, 84% of the individuals who received drug therapy continued to have symptoms to such a degree that treatment was considered a failure. In contrast, only 33% of those who underwent catheter ablation experienced a failure of treatment.

Three months after the start of therapy, those who received catheter ablation had significantly greater increases in their quality of life than those on drug therapy, and this improvement was maintained throughout the study.

Today’s research suggests that individuals with atrial fibrillation who do not experience relief from an antiarrhythmic drug should be immediately treated with catheter ablation rather than additional drugs.”

Research Reference for this Video
Wilber, D., Pappone, C. et al. Comparison of Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy and Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation in Patients With Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2010;303(4):333-340. URL:

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Saturday, August 4, 2018

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