Background: Atrial fibrillation is a progressive arrhythmia, the exact mechanism underlying the progressive nature of recurrent AF episodes is still unknown. Recently, it was found that key players of the protein quality control system of the cardiomyocyte, i.e. Heat Shock Proteins, protect against atrial fibrillation progression by attenuating atrial electrical and structural remodeling (electropathology). HALT & REVERSE aims to investigate the correlation between electropathology, as defined by endo-or epicardial mapping, Heat Shock Protein levels and development or recurrence of atrial fibrillation following pulmonary vein isolation, or electrical cardioversion or cardiothoracic surgery. Study design: This study is a prospective observational study. Three separate study groups are defined: (1) cardiothoracic surgery, (2) pulmonary vein isolation and (3) electrical cardioversion. An intra-operative high-resolution epicardial (group 1) or endocardial (group 2) mapping procedure of the atria is performed to study atrial electropathology. Blood samples for Heat Shock Protein determination are obtained at baseline and during the follow-up period at 3 months (group 2), 6 months (groups 1 and 2) and 1 year (group 1 and 2). Tissue samples of the right and left atrial appendages in patients in group 1 are analysed for Heat Shock Protein levels and for tissue characteristics. Early post procedural atrial fibrillation is detected by continuous rhythm monitoring, whereas late post procedural atrial fibrillation is documented by either electrocardiogram or 24-h Holter registration. Conclusion: HALT & REVERSE aims to identify the correlation between Heat Shock Protein levels and degree of electropathology. The study outcome will contribute to novel diagnostic tools for the early recognition of clinical atrial fibrillation.