AimsThis study examined the difference in autonomic modification (AM) and its effect on paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) recurrence between segmental pulmonary vein isolation (S-PVI) and circumferential PVI (C-PVI).Methods and resultsSuccessful S-PVI or C-PVI with a basket catheter was achieved in 120 consecutive PAF patients. Serial 24 Holter-recordings were obtained before, immediately, and 1, 3, 6, 12 months after the PVI to analyse the heart rate variability (HRV). Nineteen patients were excluded from analysis because of additional ablation for recurrent PAF after successful PVI. Among the residual 101 patients, 33 had PAF recurrences (S-PVI = 44.0, C-PVI = 21.6) at 1 year of follow-up. The root mean square of successive differences and high-frequency power reflecting parasympathetic nervous activity were significantly lower in patients with and without PAF recurrences after C-PVI and patients without PAF recurrences after S-PVI than patients with PAF recurrences after S-PVI (P < 0.005-0.0001). However, there were no significant differences in any HRV parameters in the immediate aftermath of PVI among the patients without PAF recurrences after S-PVI and those with and without PAF recurrences after C-PVI.ConclusionAlthough additional radiofrequency ablation for AM may be recommended after S-PVI to reduce PAF recurrences, it should be carefully determined after C-PVI.