Atrial fibrillation incidence and impact of biventricular pacing on long-term outcome in patients with heart failure treated with cardiac resynchronization therapy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: In patients with cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with an unfavorable outcome and may cause loss of biventricular pacing (BivP). An effective delivery of BivP of more than 98% of all ventricular beats has been shown to be a major determinant of CRT-success. Methods: At a Swedish tertiary referral center, data was retrospectively obtained from patient registers, medical records and preoperative electrocardiograms. Data regarding AF and BivP during the first year of follow-up was assessed from CRT-device interrogations. No intra-cardiac electrograms were studied. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox-regression analyses adjusted for age, etiology of heart failure, left ventricular ejection fraction, left bundle branch block and NYHA class were performed to assess the impact of AF and BivP on the risk of death or heart transplantation (HTx) at 10-years of follow-up. Results: Preoperative AF-history was found in 54% of the 379 included patients and was associated with, but did not independently predict death or HTx. The one-year incidence of new device-detected AF was 22% but not associated with poorer prognosis. At one-year, AF-history and BivP≤98%, was associated with a higher risk of death or HTx compared to patients without AF (HR 1.9, 95%CI 1.2-3.0, p = 0.005) whereas AF and BivP> 98% was not (HR 1.4, 95%CI 0.9-2.3, p = 0.14). Conclusions: In CRT-recipients, AF-history is common and associated with poor outcome. AF-history does not independently predict mortality and is probably only a marker of a more severe underlying disease. BivP≤98% during first-year of CRT-treatment independently predicts poor outcome thus further supporting the use of 98% threshold of BivP, which should be attained to maximize the benefits of CRT.


External organisations
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Aarhus University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


  • Atrial fibrillation, Atrial high rate episodes, Biventricular pacing, Cardiac resynchronization therapy, Heart failure, Mortality
Original languageEnglish
Article number195
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 13
Publication categoryResearch

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