Catheter Ablation 10x More Effective in Delaying Atrial Fibrillation Progression than Drug Therapy

Catheter Ablation 10x More Effective in Delaying Atrial Fibrillation Progression than Drug Therapy

SINGAPORE, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Biosense Webster, Inc., part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies*, has published a report, Atrial Fibrillation: An APAC Guide to Patient Impact, Disease Management, and Treatment Outcomes, examining available treatment options for Atrial Fibrillation (AF) across Asia Pacific and the long-term impact on clinical, patient, and economic outcomes.

In Asia Pacific, it is estimated that 16 million people are affected by AF — a condition characterized by an irregular and often fast heart rhythm.[1],[2] This irregular heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia, can lead to serious health complications including blood clots and an increased risk of heart failure, stroke, and death.[3],[4] However, early detection and access to treatment can significantly improve outcomes, potentially increasing the overall quality and expectancy of the patient’s life.[5]

When examining treatment options in Asia Pacific, about half of patients are unable to control their AF through antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) alone.[6] In spite of this, it is estimated in some countries like China, fewer than 2% of eligible patients receive radiofrequency (RF) catheter ablation — a treatment where patients are 10x less likely to develop persistent AF than AAD patients, as demonstrated by the ATrial FibrillaTion ProgrESsion Trial (ATTEST).[7]

In fact, ATTEST found that patients treated with RF catheter ablation experienced fewer arrhythmia recurrences over three years of follow-up. Patients over the age of 65 were also nearly 4x more likely to progress to persistent AF than those younger, supporting the notion of increased benefit with early treatment.[7]

2020 Atrial Fibrillation in Asia Pacific At-a-Glance
2020 Atrial Fibrillation in Asia Pacific At-a-Glance

Biosense Webster’s latest report further affirmed the clinical and economic efficacy of catheter ablation with data showing:

  • Significant improvements on patients’ quality of life (37% for catheter ablation vs. 18% for AADs)[8]-[11]
  • Up to 94% freedom from arrhythmia recurrence at one year[12]
  • 30% fewer AF-related complications such as death, stroke, cardiac arrest, and cardiovascular hospitalization[13]
  • Cost-effectiveness compared to drug therapy over the long-term[14]-[16]

“AF is a serious heart problem and the second leading cause of stroke”, said Dr Tachapong Ngarmukos, MD, FAPHRS, President of the Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS). “This imposes a significant threat for patients in our region as AF can be entirely asymptomatic — and result in more life-impacting disabilities associated with stroke. It is our responsibility as healthcare professionals to raise AF awareness amongst the general public in Asia Pacific. Learn how you can play a role by visiting”

In a region like Asia Pacific where an estimated 72 million people are projected to have AF by 2050, it is imperative that healthcare professionals and institutions examine more cost-effective solutions for treatment. This is of particular importance with AF-related healthcare costs increasing between 1.8 to 5.6 times every ten years in the region.[17]-[19] Yet, studies show less than 4% of the general population, in countries like Japan, are aware of AF as a medical condition.[20]

“With prevalence on the rise and awareness remaining low, it is important for Biosense Webster to continue investing in the research and education of Atrial Fibrillation in Asia Pacific,” said Eisuke Yamamoto, Asia Pacific Vice President of Cardiovascular & Specialty Solutions at Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies. “This is why Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies is committed to advancing catheter ablation treatment options for healthcare professionals while helping patients Get Smart About Afib.”

To learn more about Atrial Fibrillation in Asia Pacific, access:

Link to 2020 APAC Treatment Report

Link to 2019 Beyond the Burden Asia Pacific Report


About the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies

At Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, we are helping people live their best lives. Building on more than a century of expertise, we tackle pressing healthcare challenges, and take bold steps that lead to new standards of care while improving people’s healthcare experiences. In surgery, orthopaedics, vision and interventional solutions, we are helping to save lives and paving the way to a healthier future for everyone, everywhere.

For more information, visit

*The Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies comprise the surgery, orthopaedics, vision and interventional solutions businesses within Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Devices segment. 

About Biosense Webster

Biosense Webster, Inc., is the global market leader in the science and technology behind the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, the specialized medical-technology company is headquartered in Irvine, Ca., and works across the world to advance the tools and solutions that help electrophysiologists identify, treat, and deliver care. Learn more at and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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[2] Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 Results. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

[3] Odutayo A, Wong CX, Hsiao AJ, Hopewell S, Altman DG et al. (2016) Atrial fibrillation and Risks of Cardiovascular Disease, Renal Disease, and Death. BMJ 354:i4482.

[4] Ohsawa M, Okamura T, Tanno K, Ogasawara K, Itai K et al. (2017) Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure Attributable to Atrial Fibrillation in Middle-Aged and Elderly People. J Epidemiol 27(8):360-367.

[5] Scherr D, Khairy P, Miyazaki S, Aurillac-Lavignolle V, Pascale P et al. (2015) Five-Year Outcome of Catheter Ablation of Persistent Atrial Fibrillation Using Termination of Atrial Fibrillation as a Procedural Endpoint. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 8(1):18-24.

[6] Wang KL, Wu CH, Huang CC, Wu TC, Naditch-Brule L et al. (2014) Complexity of atrial fibrillation patients and management in Chinese ethnicity in routine daily practice: Insights from the RealiseAF Taiwanese cohort. J Cardiol 64(3):211-217.

[7] Kuck KH, et al. (2019) Catheter ablation delays progression of atrial fibrillation from paroxysmal to persistent atrial fibrillation. ESC Late-breaking Science 2019. Paris, France. August 31, 2019.

[8] Jais P, Cauchemez B, Macle L, Daoud E, Khairy P et al. (2008) Catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drugs for atrial fibrillation: the A4 study. Circulation 118(24):2498-2505.

[9] Mark DB, Anstrom KJ, Sheng S, Piccini JP, Baloch KN et al. (2019) Effect of Catheter Ablation vs Medical Therapy on Quality of Life Among Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: The CABANA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 321(13):1275-1285.

[10] Sang CH, Chan K, Pang XF, Dong JZ, Du X et al. (2013) Depression, anxiety, and quality of life after catheter ablation in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Clin Cardiol 36(1):40-45.

[11] Miura K, Ikemura N, Kimura T, Katsumata Y, Ueda I et al. (2020) Treatment strategies and subsequent changes in the patientreported quality-of-life among elderly patients with atrial fibrillation. Am Heart J 222:83-92.

[12] Phlips T, Taghji P, El Haddad M, Wolf M, Knecht S et al. (2018) Improving procedural and one-year outcome after contact forceguided pulmonary vein isolation: the role of interlesion distance, ablation index, and contact force variability in the ‘CLOSE’-protocol. Europace 20 (FI_3):f419-f427

[13] Noseworthy PA, Gersh BJ, Kent DM et al. (2019) Atrial fibrillation ablation in practice: assessing CABANA generalizability. Eur Heart J 40(16):1257-1264. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehz085.

[14] Du X, He X, Jia Y, Wu J, Long D et al. (2019) A Long–Term Cost–Effectiveness Analysis Comparing Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation with Antiarrhythmic Drugs in Treatment of Chinese Patients with Atrial Fibrillation. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs 19(6):569-577.

[15] Australian Government Department of Health. “Cardiac ablation catheters for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, Report Part 3: Extended economic analysis” (2019).

[16] Kimura T, Igarashi A, Ikeda S, Nakajima K, Kashimura S et al. (2017) A cost-utility analysis for catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation in combination with warfarin and dabigatran based on the CHADS2 score in Japan. J Cardiol 69(1):89-97.

[17] Hu S, Zhan L, Liu B, Gao Y, Li Y et al. (2013) Economic Burden of Individual Suffering from Atrial Fibrillation–Related Stroke in China. Value Health Reg Issues 2(1):135-140.

[18] Gallagher C, Hendriks JML, Giles L, Karnon J, Pham C et al. (2019) Increasing Trends in Hospitalisations due to Atrial Fibrillation in Australia from 1993 to 2013. Heart 105(17):1358-1363.

[19] Joung B, Lee JM, Lee KH, Kim TH, Choi EK et al. (2018) 2018 Korean Guideline of Atrial Fibrillation Management. Korean Circ J 48(12):1033-1080.

[20] Akiyama H, Hasegawa Y. (2018) Awareness of atrial fibrillation in Japan: a large-scale, nationwide internet survey of 50,000 Japanese adults. Geriatr Gerontol Int 18(7):1100-1107.

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