It is recommended that anti-arrhythmic drugs are the still the first line treatment for atrial fibrillation. However, a number of randomised clinical trials have shown that ablation is superior to anti-arrhythmic drugs as a first line treatment for paroxysmal AF.
For other arrhythmias such as atrial flutter or SVT, ablation is still not usually offered before trying at least one anti-arrhythmic drug first. This is becauser it is felt that as success rates for paroxysmal AF ablation are not as high as specialists would ideally like and because complication rates associated with catheter ablation are higher than for these more simple arrhythmias, avoiding a procedure in the first instance is probably best. However, whether this changes in the future remains to be seen.
Complications from Catheter Ablation for paroxsymal atrial fibrillation include the following: