A new efficient and integrated pathway for patient evaluation prior to atrial fibrillation ablation

Dominique V M Verhaert*, Dominik Linz, Geert F Wassink, Bob Weijs, Suzanne Philippens, Justin G L M Luermans, Sjoerd W Westra, Ulrich Schotten, Kevin Vernooy, Dennis W den Uijl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


AIM: In this quality improvement project, a care pathway for patients considered for atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation was optimized with the goals to improve the patient journey and simultaneously integrate prospective data collection into the clinical process.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The Lean Six Sigma approach was used to map the pre-existing process, identify constraints and formulate countermeasures. The percentage of patients going through the full pre-ablation preparation that eventually underwent AF ablation, number of hospital visits and consultations, pathway compliance, and completeness of scientific data were measured before and after pathway optimisation. Constraints in the process were (1) lack of standardized processes, (2) inefficient use of resources, (3) lack of multidisciplinary integration, (4) lack of research integration, and (5) suboptimal communication. The impact of the corresponding countermeasures (defining a uniform process, incorporating 'go/no-go' moment, introducing a 'one-stop-shop', integrating prospective data collection, and improving communication) was studied for 33 patients before and 26 patients after pathway optimisation. After optimisation, the percentage of patients receiving a full pre-ablation preparation that eventually underwent AF ablation increased from 59% to 94% (p < 0.01). Fewer hospital visits (3.2 ± 1.2 versus 2.3 ± 0.8, p = 0.01) and electrophysiologist consultations (1.8 ± 0.7 versus 1.0 ± 0.3, p < 0.01) were required after pathway optimisation. Pathway compliance and complete collection of scientific data increased significantly (3% versus 73%, p < 0.01 and 15% versus 73%, p < 0.01, respectively).

CONCLUSION: The optimisation project resulted in a more efficient evaluation of patients considered for AF ablation. The new more efficient process includes prospective data collection and facilitates easy conduct of research studies focused on improvements of patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Oct 2022

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