Atrioventricular nodal ablation in atrial fibrillation: a meta-analysis of biventricular vs. right ventricular pacing mode

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AimsFor patients with refractory atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing atrioventricular nodal ablation (AVNA), initial single-chamber right ventricular (RV)-only pacing is standard. Given the deleterious effects of chronic RV-only pacing, the impact of an initial biventricular (BiV) pacing strategy post-ablation is of interest.Methods and resultsWe conducted a meta-analysis to determine the effect of BiV vs. RV-only pacing in patients undergoing AVNA for refractory atrial fibrillation. A search of multiple electronic databases identified 921 reports, which included four randomized controlled trials (n = 534). Mean New York Heart Association (NYHA) class was 2.3 and mean left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was 44%. When compared with RV-only pacing, BiV pacing was not associated with reduced mortality [risk ratio 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.40–1.82, P = 0.68]. In three studies comprised of patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (mean EF 41 ± 3%), BiV pacing demonstrated a non-significant reduction in cardiac mortality (risk ratio 0.59, 95% CI 0.25–1.39; P = 0.23). Compared with RV-only pacing, BiV pacing was associated with significant improvement in symptoms [Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLWHFQ) 2.72 points fewer, 95% CI 1.45–3.99] and increased LVEF (+2.6%, 95% CI 1.69–3.44), but no significant change in 6 min walk distance (6MWD) (5.02 ms more, 95% CI –1.56 to 11.59; P = 0.13).ConclusionsIn patients with refractory AF undergoing AVNA, BiV pacing was not associated with significantly improved survival when compared with RV-only pacing. A modest, but significant improvement in structural and functional response to BiV pacing was observed.

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