Management and outcomes of atrial fibrillation in 241 healthy children and young adults: Revisiting "lone" atrial fibrillation-a multi-institutional PACES collaborative study


Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Advocate Children's Hospital


BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) in healthy children and young adults is rare. Risk of recurrence and treatment efficacy are not well defined.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess recurrence patterns and treatment efficacy in AF.

METHODS: A retrospective multicenter cohort study including 13 congenital heart centers was facilitated by the Pediatric & Congenital Electrophysiology Society (PACES). Patients ≤21 years of age with documented AF from January 2004 to December 2018 were included. Demographics, family and clinical history, medications, electrophysiological study parameters, and outcomes related to the treatment of AF were recorded and analyzed. Patients with contributory diseases were excluded.

RESULTS: In 241 subjects (83% male; mean age at onset 16 years), AF recurred in 94 patients (39%) during 2.1 ± 2.6 years of follow-up. In multivariable analysis, predictors of AF recurrence were family history in a first-degree relative(odds ratio [OR] 1.9; P = .047) and longer PR interval in sinus rhythm (OR 1.1 per 10 ms; P = .037). AF recurrence was similar whether patients began no treatment (39/125 [31%]), began daily antiarrhythmic therapy (24/63 [38%]), or had an ablation at any time (14/53 [26%]; P = .39). Ablating non-AF substrate with supraventricular tachycardia improved freedom from AF recurrence (P = .013).

CONCLUSION: Recurrence of AF in the pediatric population is common, and the incidence of recurrence was not impacted by "no treatment," "medication only," or "ablation" treatment strategy. Ablation of pathways and other reentrant targets was the only intervention that decreased AF recurrence in children and young adults.

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