J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2023 Oct 19. doi: 10.1007/s10840-023-01660-3. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Pulsed field ablation (PFA) induces cell death through electroporation using ultrarapid electrical pulses. We sought to compare the procedural efficiency characteristics, safety, and efficacy of ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) using PFA compared with thermal energy ablation.
METHODS: We performed an extensive literature search and systematic review of studies that compared ablation of AF with PFA versus thermal energy sources. Risk ratio (RR) 95% confidence intervals (CI) were measured for dichotomous variables and mean difference (MD) 95% CI were measured for continuous variables, where RR < 1 and MD < 0 favor the PFA group.
RESULTS: We included 6 comparative studies for a total of 1012 patients who underwent ablation of AF: 43.6% with PFA (n = 441) and 56.4% (n = 571) with thermal energy sources. There were significantly shorter procedures times with PFA despite a protocolized 20-min dwell time (MD – 21.95, 95% CI – 33.77, – 10.14, p = 0.0003), but with significantly longer fluroscopy time (MD 5.71, 95% CI 1.13, 10.30, p = 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in periprocedural complications (RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.59-2.44) or recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmias (RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.31, 1.34) between the PFA and thermal ablation cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on the results of this meta-analysis, PFA was associated with shorter procedural times and longer fluoroscopy times, but no difference in periprocedural complications or rates of recurrent AF when compared to ablation with thermal energy sources. However, larger randomized control trials are needed.