Failed anti-tachycardia pacing can be used to differentiate atrial arrhythmias from ventricular tachycardia in implantable cardioverter-defibrillators

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Atrial fibrillation/tachycardia (AF/AT) may result in inappropriate therapies in implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). The post-pacing interval (PPI) and tachycardia cycle length difference (PPI − TCL) has been previously demonstrated to indicate the proximity of the pacing site to a tachycardia origin.


We postulated that the PPI and PPI − TCL would be greater in AT/AF vs. ventricular tachycardia (VT) after episodes of failed anti-tachycardia pacing (ATP).

Methods and results

This was a single-centre, retrospective study evaluating consecutive patients implanted with dual (DR)/biventricular (BIV) ICDs. Stored electrograms were used to determine whether the ATP captured the arrhythmia and the arrhythmia did not present with primary or secondary termination. Measurements were done using manual calipers. A total of 155 patients were included. There were 79 BIV and 76 DR devices. In total, 39 episodes were identified in 20 patients over a 23-month follow-up period. A total of 76 sequences of ATP (burst/ramp) were delivered, 28 (37%) of them inappropriate. Fifty-one events (18 AT/AF and 33 VT) were compared. The mean PPI was 693 ± 96 vs. 512 ± 88 ms (P < 0.01) and the mean PPI − TCL was 330 ± 97 vs. 179 ± 103 ms (P < 0.01) for AT/AF and VT, respectively. Cut-offs of 615 ms for the PPI [area under curve (AUC) 0.93; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.84–1.00; P < 0.01] and 260 ms for PPI − TCL (AUC 0.86; 95% CI: 0.74–0.98; P < 0.01) were identified.


The PPI and PPI − TCL after failed ATP differs significantly between AF/AT and VT and are therefore useful indices to discriminate between supraventricular tachycardia and VT in ICDs.

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