BACKGROUND: The improved life expectancy of patients with congenital heart disease is often accompanied by the development of atrial tachyarrhythmias. Similarly, the number of patients requiring redo operations is expected to continue to rise as these patients are aging. Consequently, the role of arrhythmia surgery in the treatment of atrial arrhythmias is likely to become more important in this population. Although atrial arrhythmia surgery is a well-established part of Fontan conversion procedures, evidence-based recommendations for arrhythmia surgery for macroreentrant atrial tachycardia and atrial fibrillation in other patients with congenital heart disease are still lacking. METHODS AND RESULTS: Twenty-eight studies were included in this systematic review. The median reported arrhythmia recurrence was 13% (interquartile range, 4%–26%) during follow-up ranging from 3 months to 15.2 years. A large variation in surgical techniques was observed. Based on the acquired data, biatrial lesions are more effective in the treatment of atrial fibrillation than exclusive right-sided lesions. Right-sided lesions may be more appropriate in the treatment of macroreentrant atrial tachycardia; evidence for the superiority of additional left-sided lesions is lacking. There are not enough data to support the use of exclusive left-sided lesions. Theoretically, prophylactic atrial arrhythmia surgery may be beneficial in this population, but evidence is currently limited. CONCLUSIONS: To be able to provide recommendations for arrhythmia surgery in patients with congenital heart disease, future studies should report outcomes according to the type of preoperative arrhythmia, underlying congenital heart disease, lesion set, and energy source. This is essential for determining which surgical techniques should ideally be applied under which circumstances.

arrhythmia surgery ■ atrial fibrillation ■ atrial tachycardia ■ congenital heart disease ■ systematic review,
Department of Cardiology

Houck, CA, de Groot, N.M.S, Kardys, I, Niehot, C.D., Bogers, A.J.J.C, & Mouws, E.M.J.P. (2020). Outcomes of Atrial Arrhythmia Surgery in Patients With Congenital Heart Disease: A Systematic Review. Stroke, 9(19). doi:10.1161/jaha.120.016921