Does permanent atrial fibrillation modify response to cardiac resynchronization therapy in heart failure patients?

Ana Abreu, Mário Oliveira, Pedro Silva Cunha, Helena Santa Clara, Guilherme Portugal, Inês Gonçalves Rodrigues, Vanessa Santos, Luis Morais, Mafalda Selas, Rui Soares, Luísa Branco, Rui Ferreira, Miguel Mota Carmo

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The benefits of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) documented in heart failure (HF) may be influenced by atrial fibrillation (AF). We aimed to compare CRT response in patients in AF and in sinus rhythm (SR). Methods: We prospectively studied 101 HF patients treated by CRT. Rates of clinical, echocardiographic and functional response, baseline NYHA class and variation, left ventricular ejection fraction, volumes and mass, atrial volumes, cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) duration (CPET dur), peak oxygen consumption (VO2max) and ventilatory efficiency (VE/VCO2 slope) were compared between AF and SR patients, before and at three and six months after implantation of a CRT device. Results: All patients achieved ≥95% biventricular pacing, and 5.7% underwent atrioventricular junction ablation. Patients were divided into AF (n=35) and SR (n=66) groups; AF patients were older, with larger atrial volumes and lower CPET dur and VO2max before CRT. The percentages of clinical and echocardiographic responders were similar in the two groups, but there were more functional responders in the AF group (71% vs. 39% in SR patients; p=0.012). In SR patients, left atrial volume and left ventricular mass were significantly reduced (p=0.015 and p=0.021, respectively), whereas in AF patients, CPET dur (p=0.003) and VO2max (p=0.001; 0.083 age-adjusted) showed larger increases. Conclusion: Clinical and echocardiographic response rates were similar in SR and AF patients, with a better functional response in AF. Improvement in left ventricular function and volumes occurred in both groups, but left ventricular mass reduction and left atrial reverse remodeling were seen exclusively in SR patients ( identifier: NCT02413151; FCT code: PTDC/DES/120249/2010).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-694
Number of pages8
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Cardiologia
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cardiac resynchronization
  • Heart failure
  • Responder


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