Mortality After Atrioventricular Nodal Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation With Permanent Ventricular Pacing in Atrial Fibrillation: Outcomes From a Controlled Nonrandomized Study

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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).


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.

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