BACKGROUND: The incidence of recurrent arrhythmia after catheter ablation (CA) for atrial fibrillation (AF) is unacceptable. Short-term antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) treatment following CA was presumed to be effective in reducing recurrent arrhythmia.
OBJECTIVE: To fully evaluate the efficacy of short-term use of AADs following CA for AF in preventing recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmias.
METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched up until May 1, 2016. We enrolled randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the efficacy of short-term use of AADs following CA for AF in preventing early and/or late recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmias. The statistical analyses were performed using Review Manager Version 5.3.
RESULTS: Six RCTs were included in this analysis, involving a total of 2764 patients. The frequency of early recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmias was 39.5% in the AAD group (556 of 1407) and 47.2% (640 of 1357) in the control group. The pooled risk ratio of the AAD group to the control group was 0.78 (95% CI = 0.62-0.98). Regarding late recurrence of AF (LRAF), the incidence in the AAD group and the control group was 32.5% (420 of 1293) and 34.6% (450 of 1300), respectively. No significant difference was identified between the 2 groups (relative risk = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.85-1.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Short-term use of AADs following CA for AF reduced the incidence of early recurrent atrial tachyarrhythmias but did not prevent LRAF.