Q: How Old is Too Old for a Catheter Ablation?

When I was in my training, there were patients that were in their 80s who we would absolutely say no – that atrial fibrillation ablation is isn’t an option because we are afraid it would make them worse, that they were more frail.

Since then, we’ve got good studies in octogenarian patients that are well into their 80s, and we know that the safety data is just as good as for patients that are not in their 80s and that the outcomes data is just as good. So, patients will actually do just as well with an ablation, if they’re in their 80s. So now, all the way up to under 90, patients may be reasonable candidates for an ablation and we know that it’s just as safe. And that’s looking at the bigger picture.

There are, of course, patients that are frail and in their 80s that are poor candidates. So not everyone in their 80s is necessarily a candidate, but we know that in a well selected patient population, age is not their critical deciding factor whether someone is a candidate.

Page last updated: February 20, 2019

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