Skip to Content Skip to Navigation
30th January 2023

Exercise to help patients after catheter ablation

Portrait   Adrian Elliott (Dr)

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmic disorder where the heart doesn’t beat normally. This debilitating condition increases the risk of stroke and heart failure.

Catheter ablation is a procedure to help manage the disease, but it is not a cure.

A new project will now evaluate whether a personalised exercise program for AF patients following a catheter ablation, will improve their health outcomes.

Dr Adrian Elliott from The University of Adelaide has been awarded a $125,000 grant for the two-year project, made possible thanks to your donations.

The number of Australians hospitalised due to AF has been increasing in recent decades, and Dr Elliott said there was an ‘urgent need’ to increase success rates after ablation.

“Catheter ablation has emerged as a frontline treatment for the management of symptomatic AF,’’ Dr Elliott said.

“However, despite significant advances, an unacceptably high proportion of patients experience arrhythmia recurrence.

“There is little evidence relating to exercise rehabilitation following catheter ablation and whether it can reduce arrhythmia recurrence and improve patient outcomes. We’re hoping our project will help fill this knowledge gap.”

With one in four people experiencing AF in their lifetime, this research is extremely important, especially as physical inactivity and obesity increases patient risk.

Current , clinical guidelines don’t include routine referral to exercise rehabilitation for patients undergoing catheter ablation.

“Our past research has demonstrated that exercise-based interventions can both reduce AF symptoms and arrhythmia episodes,’’ Dr Elliott said.

“However, whether exercise-based rehabilitation can improve outcomes from AF ablation has not been formally studied.’’

Dr Elliott said this landmark study will provide important evidence on whether exercise can reverse or stabilise the atrial disease that leads to poor outcomes.

We look forward to keeping you updated!