Barriers to atrial fibrillation ablation during mitral valve surgery

J. Hunter Mehaffey, Eric J. Charles, Michaela Berens, Melissa J. Clark, Chris Bond, Clifford E. Fonner, Irving Kron, Annetine C. Gelijns, Marissa A. Miller, Eric Sarin, Matthew Romano, Richard Prager, Vinay Badhwar, Gorav Ailawadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Nearly 40% of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing mitral valve surgery do not receive concomitant ablation despite societal guidelines. We assessed barriers to implementation of this evidence-based practice through a survey of cardiac surgeons in 2 statewide quality collaboratives. Methods: Adult cardiac surgeons across 2 statewide collaboratives were surveyed on their knowledge and practice regarding AF ablation. Questions concerning experience, clinical practice, case scenarios, and barriers to implementation were included. Results: Among 66 respondents (66 of 135; 48.9%), the majority reported “very comfortable/frequently use” cryoablation (53 of 66; 80.3%) and radiofrequency (55 of 66; 83.3%). Only 12.1% (8/66) were not aware of the recommendations. Approximately one-half of the respondents reported learning AF ablation in fellowship (50.0%; 33 of 66) or attending courses (47.0%; 31 of 66). Responses to clinical scenarios demonstrated wide variability in practice patterns. One-half of the respondents reported no barriers; others cited increased cross-clamp time, excessive patient risk, and arrhythmia incidence as obstacles. Desired interventions included cardiology/electrophysiology support, protocols, pacemaker rate information, and education in the form of site visits, videos and proctors. Conclusions: Knowledge of evidence-based recommendations and practice patterns vary widely. These data identify several barriers to implementation of concomitant AF ablation and suggest specific interventions (mentorship/support, protocols, research, and education) to overcome these barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-658.e1
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • atrial fibrillation
  • barriers
  • concomitant ablation
  • implementation science


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