The Incidence, Risk, and Consequences of Atrial Arrhythmias in Patients with Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices

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Abstract

Background:

Although atrial arrhythmias (AAs) are common in heart failure, the incidence of AAs subsequent to the placement of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) has not been elucidated.

Methods:

Patients receiving a HeartMate II LVAD in the bridge to transplant (n = 490) and destination therapy (n = 634) trials were included (n = 1125). AAs requiring treatment were recorded, regardless of symptoms. Using Cox models with and without a 60-day blanking period, risk factors for early and late AAs were determined.

Results:

In total, there were 271 AAs in 231 patients (21%), most of which occurred within the first 60 days. Patients with and without AAs had similar survival (p = 0.16). Serum creatinine (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.49 per unit increase, 1.18 to 1.88; p < 0.001) and ejection fraction (HR = 0.98 per 1% increase, 0.95 to 0.999; p = 0.04) were associated with AAs in a multivariable model. Although quality of life (QoL) and functional status improved in all patients, those with AAs had worse unadjusted QoL (p < 0.001) and a decreased rate of improvement in six-minute walk distance over six to 24 months postimplant (p = 0.016).

Conclusions:

Approximately one-fifth of LVAD patients have AAs, most commonly within the first 60 days of support. Preoperative creatinine is a strong risk factor for early and late AAs. Although AAs do not impact survival, they are associated with decreased functional status and QoL improvements during LVAD support. doi: 10.1111/jocs.12336(J Card Surg 2014;29:572–580)

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