Last updated on March 2019

Substrate Versus Trigger Ablation for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation


Brief description of study

This is a prospective randomized study to assess the safety and efficacy of FIRM (Focal Impulse and Rotor Modulation)-guided ablation for the treatment of symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF). The study hypothesis is that the efficacy of AF elimination at 1 year will be higher by ablating patient-specific AF-sustaining rotors and focal sources by Focal Impulse and Rotor Modulation (FIRM) compared to conventional ablation alone (wide-area PV isolation).

Detailed Study Description

Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is a standard of care therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF). However, it produces suboptimal results, with a single procedure success of 45-55%, and multiple procedure success rates of 65-75% in recent randomized trials. The rationale of PVI is to eliminate triggers from the Pulmonary veins. An alternative strategy is to eliminate the substrates that sustain AF after it has been triggered, as applied to other arrhythmias. However, the relevance of AF substrates - at least in persistent AF - has been questioned with the recent STAR-AF-II trial, in which ablating at additional lines or complex atrial electrograms (CFAE) did not improve the success of PVI alone (Verma et al., 2015) - although success remained at ~50% for a single procedure. Because of STAR-AF2, the PVI limb in this trial will be PVI alone (wide area circumferential ablation) with no additional lesions.

Focal Impulse and Rotor Modulation (FIRM) is a novel approach to eliminate specific electrical substrates for AF, demonstrated in studies from many laboratories to take the form of localized electrical circuits. These rotors and focal sources lie in patient-specific locations, often away from typical PVI ablation sites and in right atrium, and ablating them has substantially improved the single procedure success rate of PVI in several multi center non-randomized trials (Narayan, J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012; Miller, J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2014).

There is therefore equipoise in the literature between PVI alone, with a long-history but suboptimal results, and FIRM only, that is newer with potentially greater efficacy but without randomized trial data.

This study will test both strategies in a randomized controlled fashion.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02169037

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Stanford University

Palo Alto, CA United States
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VA San Diego Medical Center

San Diego, CA United States
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Recruitment Status: Open


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