BACKGROUND: Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) is an important but expensive procedure that is the subject of some debate. Physicians´ attitudes towards catheter ablation may influence promotion and patient acceptance. This is the first study to examine the attitudes of Danish cardiologists towards catheter ablation for AF, using a nationwide survey.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We developed a purpose-designed questionnaire to evaluate attitudes towards catheter ablation for AF that was sent to all Danish cardiologists (n = 401; response n = 272 (67.8%)). There was no association between attitudes towards ablation and the experience or age of the cardiologist with respect to patients with recurrent AF episodes with a duration of <48 hours or >7 days and/or need for cardioversion. The majority (69%) expected a recurrence of AF after catheter ablation in more than 30% of the cases. For patients with persistent longstanding AF with a duration of >1 year, the attitude towards ablation for longstanding AF was more likely to be positive with increasing age (P < 0.01) and years of experience of the cardiologist (P = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: Danish cardiologists generally have a positive attitude towards catheter ablation for AF, maintain up-to-date knowledge of the procedure, and are aware what information on ablation treatment should be given to patients with AF. The cardiologists had a positive attitude towards ablation for AF in patients with AF episodes <48 hours and patients with episodes >7 days, or those who needed medical/electrical conversion, but a more negative attitude towards treating longstanding AF patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.