Go to content

Relationship between wait times and post–atrial fibrillation ablation outcomes: a population-based study


Background — Rhythm control is a cornerstone of atrial fibrillation (AF) management. Shorter time between diagnosis of AF and receipt of catheter ablation is associated with greater rates of therapy success. Previous work considered diagnosis-to-ablation time as a binary or categorical variable and did not consider the unique risk profile of patients after a referral for ablation was made.

Objective — The purpose of this study was to comprehensively assess the impact of diagnosis-to-ablation and referral-to-ablation time on postprocedural outcomes at a population level.

Methods — This observational cohort study included patients who received catheter ablation to treat AF in Ontario, Canada. Patient demographics, medical comorbidities, AF diagnosis date, ablation referral date, and ablation date were collected. The primary outcomes of interest included a composite of death and hospitalization/emergency department visit for AF, heart failure, or ischemic stroke. Multivariable Cox models assessed the impact of diagnosis-to-ablation and referral-to-ablation times on the primary outcome.

Results — Our cohort included 7472 patients who received ablation for de novo AF between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2022. Median [interquartile range] diagnosis-to-ablation time was 718 [399–1274] days and median referral-to-ablation time was 221 [117–363] days. Overall, 911 patients (12.2%) had the composite endpoint within 1 year of ablation. Increasing diagnosis-to-ablation time was associated with a greater incidence for the primary outcome (hazard ratio [HR]1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–1.02 per month). Increasing referral-to-ablation time did not impact the primary outcome (HR 1.00; 95% CI 0.98–1.01 per month).

Conclusion — Delays between AF diagnosis and ablation referral may contribute to adverse postprocedural outcomes and provide an opportunity for health system quality improvements.



Qeska D, Qiu F, Manoragavan R, Wijeysundera HC, Cheung CC. Heart Rhythm. 2024; Apr 10 [Epub ahead of print].

View Source

Contributing ICES Scientists

Research Programs

Associated Sites