Severe Pulmonary Vein Stenosis Resulting from Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: Presentation, Management and Clinical Outcomes
Background—The frequency of pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS) after ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) has decreased but it remains a highly morbid condition. While treatment strategies including PV dilation and stenting have been described, the long-term impacts of these interventions are unknown. We evaluated the presentation of severe PVS, and examined the risk for restenosis after intervention utilizing either balloon angioplasty (BA) alone or BA with stenting.
Methods—This was a prospective, observational study of 124 patients with severe PVS evaluated between 2000 and 2014.
Results—All 124 patients were identified as having severe PVS by CT in 219 veins. One hundred and two patients (82%) were symptomatic at diagnosis. The most common symptoms were dyspnea (67%), cough (45%), fatigue (45%), and decreased exercise tolerance (45%). Twenty-seven percent of patients experienced hemoptysis. Ninety-two veins were treated with BA, 86 were treated with stenting, and 41 veins were not intervened on. A 94% acute procedural success rate was observed and did not differ by initial management. Major procedural complications occurred in 4 of the 113 patients (3.5%) who underwent invasive assessment and minor complications occurred in 15 patients (13.3%). Overall, 42% of veins developed restenosis including 27% of veins (n=23) treated with stenting, and 57% of veins (n=52) treated with BA. The 3-year overall rate of restenosis was 37%, with 49% of BA treated veins and 25% of stented veins developing restenosis (HR 2.77, 95% CI 1.72-4.45, p<0.001). After adjustment for age, CHA2DS2-VASc score, hypertension, and the time period of the study there was still a significant difference in the risk of restenosis for BA versus stenting (HR=2.46, 95% CI 1.47-4.12, p<0.001).
Conclusions—The diagnosis of PVS is challenging due to non-specific symptoms, and the need for dedicated PV imaging. There is no difference in acute success by type of initial intervention; however, stenting significantly reduces the risk of subsequent PV restenosis compared to BA.
- Received February 16, 2016.
- Revision received August 18, 2016.
- Accepted October 5, 2016.