Catheter ablation for potential stroke victims might be more effective than medication, according to a huge study of nearly 38,000 people.
Catheter ablation can cost as much as $80,000, but might be worth it in the long run. The study, published in the journal Heart Rhythm, states that “although catheter ablation has significant risks, these risks typically are realized up front with the procedure whereas those with medications are observed continually over time.”
The risks for patients on medication, say the authors, include changes in metabolism that can make dosage control difficult and increased chances of drug-to-drug interactions as patients get older and possibly develop additional cardiovascular diseases.
“In our study population, AF [atrial fibrillation] patients have a significantly lower risk of stroke [than] AF patients who do not undergo ablation independent of baseline stroke risk score,” the study concludes.
Three groups of patients were studied: patients with AF who had undergone ablation, patients with AF who had not undergone ablation, and patients without a history of AF.
Those with no AF were studied between 1993 and 2009, those with AF but no ablation were studied between 1984 and 2009, and those with AF who had undergone ablation were studied between 1999 and 2009.