Background: Improved catheter stability is associated with decreased arrhythmia recurrence after atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. Recently, atrial voltage mapping in AF was demonstrated to correlate better with scar as compared to mapping in sinus rhythm (SR). However, it is unknown whether ablation of persistent AF in sinus rhythm with atrial pacing or in atrial fibrillation with ventricular pacing results in differences in catheter stability or arrhythmia recurrence. Methods: We analyzed 53 consecutive patients undergoing first-time persistent AF ablation with pulmonary vein and posterior wall isolation: 27 were cardioverted, mapped, and ablated in sinus rhythm with atrial pacing, and 26 were mapped and ablated in AF with ventricular pacing. Ablation data was extracted from the mapping system and analyzed using custom MATLAB software to determine high-frequency (60Hz) catheter excursion as a novel metric for catheter spatial stability. Results: There was no difference in catheter stability as assessed by maximal catheter excursion, mean catheter excursion, or contact force variability between the atrial-paced and ventricular-paced patients. Ventricular-paced patients did have significantly greater mean contact forces compared to atrial-paced patients. One year arrhythmia-free survival was similar between the atrial paced and ventricular paced patients (78% vs 67%, p = 0.31). Conclusion: For patients with persistent AF, ablation in AF with ventricular pacing results in similar catheter stability and arrhythmia recurrence as compared to cardioversion and ablation in sinus rhythm with atrial pacing. Given the improved fidelity of mapping in AF, mapping and ablating during AF with ventricular pacing may be preferred.