January 22, 2018

Is Catheter Ablation a Better Treatment Than Drugs for Atrial Fibrillation in Serious and Professional Athletes?

At the recent Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium, catheter ablation was presented as possibly a better atrial fibrillation (AF) treatment option for serious and professional athletes than antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs). According to Dr. Riccardo Cappato (Institute Policlinics San Donato, Milan, Italy), antiarrhythmic drug therapy has not been popular with this patient population.”Even when effective, AADs significantly affect an athlete’s physical performance and inhibit eligibility at pre-qualification screenings,” said Dr. Cappato. “Catheter ablation offers an unprecedented opportunity for these athletes to come back to their sport, especially when healthy [pre-participation screening] certificates are required to compete in countries such as mine.”

During the same session, Dr. Stanley Nattel (Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Canada) presented a small animal study with rats that suggested that strenuous exercise may have contributed to their development of atrial fibrillation.

To learn more, read: Catheter Ablation May be Better Atrial Fibrillation Treatment than Drugs for Serious and Professional Athletes


  1. George Dawson says:

    If fibrosis and inflammation from mechanical overload on the atrium is the mechanism of afib in athletes – the recommendation to stop exercise is probably the better option. The only exception would be is a safe threshold for exercise could be determined but I do not think that it has.

  2. Catheter ablation is risky and unproven: http://adventuresincardiology.com