Atrioventricular nodal radiofrequency ablation (AVNA) with permanent ventricular pacing can be used to control rate in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). However, long-term outcomes after AVNA are uncertain, especially in light of irreversible pacemaker dependence.Methods and Results—
We examined 9122 consecutive patients with AF. The outcomes in 453 patients with AVNA (26% of whom underwent an implantable cardiac defibrillator implant and 37% underwent cardiac resynchronization therapy implant) were compared with AF patients without AVNA after propensity score 1:1 matching. During follow-up in the propensity-matched cohort (2.41±3.23 years, median 1.23, quartiles 0.33–3.12), 100 patients died (yearly rate of death 6.6%). Mode of death was available in 86% of patients, which was cardiovascular in 67% of the patients (related to heart failure in 38%, sudden death in 5%, and other cardiovascular reason in 24%) and noncardiovascular in 33%. AVNA in patients with AF was associated with a lower risk of mortality (odds ratio 0.47, 95% confidence interval, 0.29–0.77; P=0.003), a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality (odds ratio =0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.23–0.73; P=0.003), and nonsignificant lower risk of stroke and thromboembolic events (odds ratio =0.61, 95% confidence interval 0.36–1.06; P=0.08).Conclusions—
In sick AF patients with multiple comorbidities, AVNA with permanent ventricular pacing for rate control seems safe during follow-up and may be associated with lower mortality.