Impact of Catheter Ablation on Cognitive Function in Atrial Fibrillation: A Randomized Control Trial

Ahmed M. Al-Kaisey, Ramanathan Parameswaran, Christina Bryant, Robert D. Anderson, Joshua Hawson, David Chieng, Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Hariharan Sugumar, Danielle West, Sonia Azzopardi, Sue Finch, Geoffrey Wong, Stephen A. Joseph, Alex McLellan, Liang Han Ling, Prashanthan Sanders, Geoffrey Lee, Peter M. Kistler, Jonathan M. Kalman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Early postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) has been reported following atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. However, whether POCD is persistent long-term is unknown. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine if AF catheter ablation is associated with persistent cognitive dysfunction at 12-month follow-up. Methods: This is a prospective study of 100 patients with symptomatic AF who failed at least 1 antiarrhythmic drug randomized to either ongoing medical therapy or AF catheter ablation and followed up for 12 months. Changes in cognitive performance were assessed using 6 cognitive tests administered at baseline and during follow-up (3, 6, and 12 months). Results: A total of 96 participants completed the study protocol. Mean age was 59 ± 12 years (32% women, 46% with persistent AF). The prevalence of new cognitive dysfunction in the ablation arm compared with the medical arm was as follows: at 3 months: 14% vs 2%; P = 0.03; at 6 months: 4% vs 2%; P = NS; and at 12 months: 0% vs 2%; P = NS. Ablation time was an independent predictor of POCD (P = 0.03). A significant improvement in cognitive scores was seen in 14% of the ablation arm patients at 12 months compared with no patients in the medical arm (P = 0.007). Conclusions: POCD was observed following AF ablation. However, this was transient with complete recovery at 12-month follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1034
Number of pages11
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number7
Early online date24 May 2023
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • arrhythmia outcomes
  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • cognitive function
  • postoperative cognitive dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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