Author + information
- Received December 18, 2018
- Revision received March 5, 2019
- Accepted April 5, 2019
- Published online July 17, 2019.
- Pieter Martens, MD, PhDa,b,∗,
- Sébastien Deferm, MDa,b,∗,
- Philippe B. Bertrand, MD, PhDa,
- Frederik H. Verbrugge, MD, PhDa,
- Jobbe Ramaekersa,
- David Verhaert, MDa,
- Matthias Dupont, MDa,
- Pieter M. Vandervoort, MDa and
- Wilfried Mullens, MD, PhDa,c,∗ ()
- aDepartment of Cardiology, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Genk, Belgium
- bSchool of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium
- cBiomedical Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium
- ↵∗Address for correspondence:
Dr. Wilfried Mullens, Department of Cardiology, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk, Belgium.
Objectives This study assessed the impact of right-atrial (RA) pacing on left-atrial (LA) physiology and clinical outcome.
Background Data for the effects of RA pacing on LA synchronicity, function, and structure after cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) are scarce.
Methods The effect of RA pacing on LA function, morphology, and synchronicity was assessed in a prospective imaging cohort of heart failure (HF) patients in sinus rhythm with a guideline-based indication for CRT. Additionally, in a retrospective outcome cohort of consecutive HF patients undergoing CRT implantation, the relationship to RA pacing was assessed using various outcome endpoints. High versus low atrial pacing burden was defined as atrial pacing above or below 50% in both cohorts.
Results A total of 36 patients were included in the imaging cohort (68 ± 11 years of age). Six months after CRT, patients with high RA pacing burden showed less improvement in LA maximum and minimum volumes and total emptying fraction (p < 0.05). Peak atrial longitudinal strain and reservoir and booster strain rates but not conduit strain rate improved after CRT in patients with low RA pacing burden but worsened in patients with high RA pacing burden (p < 0.05 for all). A high RA pacing burden induced significant intra-atrial dyssynchrony (maximum opposing wall delay: 44 ± 13 ms vs. 97 ± 17 ms, respectively; p = 0.022). A total of 569 patients were included in the outcome cohort. After covariate adjustments were made, a high RA pacing burden was associated with reduced LV reverse remodeling (β = 8.738; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.101 to 14.374; p = 0.002) and new-onset or recurrent atrial fibrillation (41% vs. 22%, respectively, at a median of 31 months [range 22 to 44 months follow-up]; p < 0.001). There were no differences in time to first HF hospitalization or all-cause mortality (p = 0.185) after covariate adjustment. However, in a recurrent event analysis, HF readmissions were more common in patients exposed to a high RA pacing burden (p = 0.003).
Conclusions RA pacing in CRT patients negatively influences LA morphology, function, and synchronicity, which is associated with worse clinical outcome, including diminished LV reverse remodeling, increased risk for new-onset or recurrent AF and heart failure readmission. Strategies reducing RA pacing burden may be warranted.
- atrial fibrillation
- cardiac resynchronization therapy
- left atrial function
- reverse remodeling
- right atrial pacing
↵∗ Drs. Martens and Deferm contributed equally to this work.
Dr. Martens is supported by Research Foundation-Flanders doctoral fellowship grant 1127917N. Dr. Martens, Deferm, and Mullens are researchers for the Limburg Clinical Research Program, supported by Limburg Sterk Merk, Hasselt University, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg and Jessa Hospital. All other authors have reported that they have no relationships relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.
- Received December 18, 2018.
- Revision received March 5, 2019.
- Accepted April 5, 2019.
- 2019 American College of Cardiology Foundation
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