At the recent Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium, catheter ablation was presented as possibly a better atrial fibrillation (AF) treatment option for serious and professional athletes than antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs). According to Dr. Riccardo Cappato (Institute Policlinics San Donato, Milan, Italy), antiarrhythmic drug therapy has not been popular with this patient population.
"Even when effective, AADs significantly affect an athlete's physical performance and inhibit eligibility at pre-qualification screenings," said Dr. Cappato. "Catheter ablation offers an unprecedented opportunity for these athletes to come back to their sport, especially when healthy [pre-participation screening] certificates are required to compete in countries such as mine."
During the same session, Dr. Stanley Nattel (Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Canada) presented a small animal study with rats that suggested that strenuous exercise may have contributed to their development of atrial fibrillation.