The Epidemic of Inadequate Biventricular Pacing in Patients With Persistent or Permanent Atrial Fibrillation and Its Association With Mortality

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We classified patients’ atrial fibrillation (AF), assessed its impact on biventricular pacing (BIVP%), and determined whether AF classification or BIVP% independently correlate with mortality in cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator patients.

Methods and Results—

Cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator patients were classified as permanent (daily mean AF burden ≥23 hours), persistent (≥7 consecutive days of AF ≥23 hours/d), paroxysmal (≥1 day with AF ≥6 hours), or no/little AF (all others) using device-detected AF during the 6 months postimplant. We evaluated subsequent all-cause mortality using a multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression. Among 54 019 patients (age, 70±11 years; 73% male; follow-up, 2.3±1.2 years), 8% of patients each had permanent (N=4449), persistent (N=4237), and paroxysmal AF (N=4219). A high proportion of patients with permanent (69%) and persistent (62%) AF did not achieve high BIVP (>98%). Relative to no/little AF, patients with AF had increased mortality after adjusting for age, sex, BIVP, and shocks (permanent: hazard ratio=1.28 [1.19–1.38]; P<0.001; persistent: hazard ratio=1.51 [1.41–1.61]; P<0.001). Relative to patients with BIVP >98%, patients with reduced BIVP had increased mortality after adjusting for age, sex, AF, and shocks (90%–98%: hazard ratio=1.20 [1.15–1.26]; P<0.001; <90%: hazard ratio=1.32 [1.23–1.41]; P<0.001). High BIVP% was associated with the greatest mortality improvement in permanent AF among the AF classifications.


High BIVP% was not achieved in two thirds of 8686 patients with persistent or permanent AF, and these patients had an increased risk of death. A shift toward more aggressive rate control and more pacing may be necessary in patients with AF to maximize the benefits of cardiac resynchronization therapy.

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