Atrial fibrillation (AF) is known to cause adverse remodeling of left atrium (LA). Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) of AF is associated with decrease in LA volume. However, the impact of RFCA on left atrial appendage (LAA) volume and hemodynamic function is not fully understood. We analyzed 123 patients who underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation before and after RFCA in Korea University Anam Hospital. LA and LAA volume were measured before and after RFCA based on cardiac MRI. Baseline LA volume was 99.5 ± 38.4 cm3 and decreased to 74.6 ± 28.5 cm3 after RFCA (p < 0.001). LA diameter measured with transthoracic echocardiography was also decreased after RFCA (43.3 ± 6.2 mm at baseline and 39.9 ± 5.9 mm at follow up; p < 0.001). However, LAA volume was significantly increased after RFCA (19.4 ± 8.5 cm3 at baseline and 23.7 ± 13.3 cm3 at follow up; p < 0.001). Total ablation time and additional substrate modification was associated with change in LA volume. After RFCA, average LAA velocity measured by transesophageal echocardiography was increased to 51.0 cm/sec from 41.1 cm/sec (p < 0.001). In conclusion, LAA volume was increased after RFCA in contrast to LA volume. Our data raise a concern about worsening hemodynamics of LA and LAA following RFCA and long term clinical significance of enlarged LAA after RFCA needs further evaluation.
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