“The Convergent Procedure may improve heart function and provide a viable treatment option for persistent atrial fibrillation”


Restoring sinus rhythm in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation may also improve heart function, according to data presented by Janez Toplisek, University Medical Center, Ljubljana, Slovenia, at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 61st Annual Scientific Session & Expo (March 24-27, Chicago, USA).

In the study, 85% of patients who underwent ablation with the multidisciplinary Convergent Procedure were in sinus rhythm at one year follow-up, had a significant reduction in left atrial size and improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction.

“Numerous clinical experiences have demonstrated the promise of the Convergent Procedure in restoring sinus rhythm for persistent atrial fibrillation patients with enlarged atria. In this study we found that eliminating the arrhythmia in fact leads to reduced left atrial size and improved left ventricular ejection function. This data also suggests that specifically the Convergent Procedure may improve heart function and provide a viable treatment option for persistent AF,” said Toplisek.

Twenty one patients with symptomatic drug refractory persistent or long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation underwent the Convergent Procedure at University Medical Center. At 12 months, 85% (18/21) were in sinus rhythm and 61% (13/21) were atrial fibrillation free and off anti-arrhythmic drugs. Average 30-day atrial fibrillation burden in patients in clinical sinus rhythm decreased from 100% at baseline to an average of 1.5% at one year post procedure as recorded by an implantable loop recorder.

Notably, restored sinus rhythm was accompanied by a significant reduction in left atrial diameter (4.9 cm to 4.5 cm) and an increase in left ventricular ejection fraction (56% to 64%).

Borut Gersak, University Medical Center said: “The patients included in this experience were chronically ill, having suffered with atrial fibrillation for an average duration of four years and presenting with enlarged atria. Traditionally it has been difficult to achieve sinus rhythm in this population, and near impossible to return the heart to a healthier state. This data further supports the potential of the Convergent Procedure for treating an underserved atrial fibrillation population.”

About the Convergent Procedure

The Convergent Procedure integrates the best practices of surgeons and electrophysiologists in a single setting, utilising a minimally invasive, trans-diaphragmatic approach for direct access to the posterior of the atrium without chest incisions, lung deflation, or cardiac dissections.

Developed by physicians and enabled by nContact’s epicardial ablation technology, it has been shown to be especially appropriate for atrial fibrillation patients with enlarged atria, a population in which standalone catheter treatments have had limited single procedure success.