Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation is an invasive therapeutic option for individuals with AF. It was first introduced in the late 1980s and has now emerged as a quite common procedure in many hospitals. Accumulated clinical experience as well as data from several prospective randomized trials confirm that catheter ablation of AF is superior to antiarrhythmic drug therapy in controlling AF.
AF ablation is suggested to be particularly beneficial for patients with the paroxysmal form of AF without other severe comorbidities. Catheter ablation is indicated for treatment of patients with symptomatic AF in whom one or more attempts with antiarrhythmic drug (class I or III) therapy have failed.
In the recent guidelines for management of AF, catheter ablation is reasonable to be implemented as a first-line therapy in selected patients; however it is more practical in clinical practice to initiate a non-invasive pharmaceutical intervention first.
This procedure has made a remarkable progress in the last years mostly due to novel technological improvements and packed clinical experience and skills. Finally it should be noted that catheter ablation is very rarely associated with potentially life-threatening complications, such as an atriooesophageal fistula, stroke, and cardiac tamponade.