(HealthDay)—For patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and prior cerebrovascular accident (CVA), ablation is associated with reduced risk of recurrent stroke, according to a study published online Nov. 13 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Thomas Jared Bunch, M.D., from the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, and colleagues examined outcomes for AF ablation receiving their first ablation (139 patients), AF patients who did not receive ablation (416 patients), and CVA patients without clinical AF (416 patients). Patients had prior CVA, as determined by medical chart review, and five years of follow-up.

The researchers found that patients with AF ablation had higher rates of hypertension and heart failure (P < 0.0001), but the prevalence of diabetes was similar between the groups (P = 0.5). The AF, no ablation group had higher five-year risk of CVA (hazard ratio, 2.26; P < 0.0001) and death (hazard ratio, 2.43; P < 0.0001) than the ablated group. The five-year risk for CVA (hazard ratio, 0.82; P = 0.39) and death (hazard ratio, 0.92; P = 0.70) did not differ significantly when comparing AF patients with ablation to patients without AF; however, the risk of was increased (hazard ratio, 3.08; P = 0.001).

"In patients with AF and a prior CVA, patients undergoing ablation have lower rates of compared to AF patients not ablated," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries.