Biosense Webster Study Links Lower Risk of Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients Treated with Catheter Ablation Compared to Antiarrhythmic Drugs

Biosense Webster Study Links Lower Risk of Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients Treated with Catheter Ablation Compared to Antiarrhythmic Drugs

Retrospective study of over 18,000 drug-refractory AFib patients found those treated with catheter ablation had a 57% lower risk of developing heart failure compared to those receiving antiarrhythmic drugs

Irvine, CA October 5, 2023 – Biosense Webster, Inc. the global leader in cardiac arrhythmia treatment and part of Johnson & Johnson MedTech,i  announced today new data from a Biosense Webster funded study which sought to compare the risk of heart failure incidence among atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients treated with catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD). The study, titled “Heart failure risk in patients with atrial fibrillation treated with catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drugs,” was published in Heart Rhythm O2, and evaluated non-specific catheter claims information and found that catheter ablation was associated with significantly lower risk of incident heart failure compared to treatment with AAD only.1

“The results from this study underscore the positive, life-changing impact catheter ablation can have for people with AFib,” said Jasmina Brooks, President, Biosense Webster, Inc. “At Biosense Webster, we are proud of our legacy of helping electrophysiologists elevate the standard of care and are continuing to generate scientific evidence to advance new solutions and approaches to help those with AFib live the lives they want.”

Catheter ablation and AAD are two types of treatments that are widely used to treat patients with AFib. Several clinical studies have suggested that catheter ablation is a safe and superior alternative to AAD when performed appropriately, yet currently less than 5% of the population eligible for catheter ablation receives the procedure.1

Using the 2014-2022 Optum Clinformatics database, the study identified adult patients with AFib who had used AAD previously. They were then classified into two cohorts: patients who were treated with catheter ablation versus patients who received an AAD. The two groups were then matched on socio-demographic and clinical covariates using propensity score matching technique. There were 9,246 patients in each of the two matched cohorts for AAD and catheter ablation, respectively. 

The findings were statistically significant in showing patients receiving catheter ablation had a 57% lower risk of incident heart failure compared to those treated with AAD (hazard ratio [HR]=0.43; 95% CI=0.40-0.46).1 The lower risk of heart failure associated with catheter ablation treatment was consistent across all race/ethnicity and sex categories evaluated.

“In this examination of a large real-world dataset, we found that there was a significantly lower risk of heart failure for those patients undergoing cardiac ablation treatment versus AAD as second line treatment,” said Saima Karim, DO, FACC, FHRS, Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Primary Research Partner in the Heart Failure Studyii.  “For the many millions of patients impacted by AFib and the clinicians who treat them, these results provide compelling decision-making evidence for effective AFib treatment options when considering the incidence of new onset heart failure.”

AFib is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia and affects more than 6 million people in the United States and over 37.5 million people worldwide.2,3  Approximately 1 in 4 adults over the age of 40 are at risk for developing AFib.4  Individuals with AFib are at a higher risk of heart failure, a health condition that makes the body unable to pump blood as efficiently as it should.5  

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Diane Pressman
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Charlene DeBar
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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 Johnson & Johnson MedTech, the specialized medical technology company is headquartered in Irvine, California, 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 X, formerly Twitter.

About Johnson & Johnson MedTechi

At Johnson & Johnson MedTech,i we unleash diverse healthcare expertise, purposeful technology, and a passion for people to transform the future of medical intervention and empower everyone to live their best life possible. For more than a century, we have driven breakthrough scientific innovation to address unmet needs and reimagine health. In surgery, orthopaedics, vision, and interventional solutions, we continue to help save lives and create a future where healthcare solutions are smarter, less invasive, and more personalized.

Cautions Concerning Forward-Looking Statements 

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding data from one published study. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections of Biosense Webster, Inc., any of the other Johnson & Johnson MedTech companies and/or Johnson & Johnson. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: uncertainty of regulatory approvals; uncertainty of commercial success; challenges to patents; competition, including technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; product efficacy or safety concerns resulting in product recalls or regulatory action; changes to applicable laws and regulations, including global health care reforms; changes in behavior and spending patterns of purchasers of healthcare products and services; and trends toward healthcare cost containment. A further list and descriptions of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Johnson & Johnson’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 1, 2023, including in the sections captioned “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” and in Johnson & Johnson’s subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of these filings are available online at, or on request from Johnson & Johnson. None Biosense Webster, Inc., Johnson & Johnson MedTech nor Johnson & Johnson undertakes to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.


  1. Johnson & Johnson MedTech comprises the surgery, orthopedics, vision, and interventional solutions businesses within Johnson & Johnson’s MedTech segment.
  2. Biosense Webster, Inc. entered into an Authorship agreement with Dr. Karim. She has not been compensated.
  1. Gruber M, Iglesias M, Khanna R, Zhang D, Karim S. Heart failure risk in patients with atrial fibrillation treated with catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drugs. Heart Rhythm O2. 2023 doi: 10.1016/j.hroo.2023.09.009
  2. Lippi G, Sanchis-Gomar F, Cervellin G. Global epidemiology of atrial fibrillation: An increasing epidemic and public health challenge. Int J Stroke. 2021 Feb;16(2):217-221. doi: 10.1177/1747493019897870. Epub 2020 Jan 19. Erratum in: Int J Stroke. 2020 Jan 28;1747493020905964. PMID: 31955707.
  3. Kornej J, Börschel CS, Emelia J. Benjamin EJ, Schnabel RB. Epidemiology of Atrial Fibrillation in the 21st Century. Circulation Research. 2020 June;127(1):4-20. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.316340
  4. Staerk, et al. 2018 Lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation according to optimal, borderline, or elevated levels of risk factors: cohort study based on longitudinal data from the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ 2018;361:k1453 doi: 10.1136/bmj.k1453
  5. Atul Verma, Jonathan M. Kalman, and David J. Callans. Treatment of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction. Circulation. 2017;135:1547–156318 

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