Background Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with endothelial dysfunction. Studies have shown the incidence of cardiovascular events to be greater in patients with persistent AF (PeAF) than paroxysmal AF (PAF). Objective The aim of this study was to investigate whether endothelial dysfunction and the impact of catheter ablation on the endothelial function differs between PAF and PeAF. Methods We prospectively measured the endothelial function by reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT) in 103 PAF, 75 PeAF, and 51 control patients at baseline, with follow-up in the AF patients at 6 and 12 months after the catheter ablation. Results The log-transformed RH-PAT index (ln RHI) was the highest in the control group, followed by the PAF and PeAF (0.67 ± 0.23, 0.57 ± 0.29, and 0.45 ± 0.3, respectively, p < 0.001) groups. PeAF was determined to be an independent factor of endothelial dysfunction (ln RHI < 0.55) even after adjustment for the conventional cardiovascular risk factors. For 12 months after the catheter ablation, 102 (99%) PAF and 72 (96%) PeAF patients maintained sinus rhythm. On average, the ln RHI in the PAF group did not change during the follow-up, but it significantly increased in the PeAF group to a level comparable to that of the PAF patients 6 months after the catheter ablation (0.53 ± 0.28, p = 0.034), and maintained the same level at 12 months after the catheter ablation. Conclusions The persistent form of AF may independently contribute to endothelial dysfunction. In addition, by catheter ablation, the maintenance of sinus rhythm may protect against exacerbations of endothelial dysfunction.
- Catheter ablation
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
- Persistent atrial fibrillation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine