Publications by authors named "Christian Sticherling"

192 Publications

Reassessment of Clinical Variables in Cardiac Resynchronization Defibrillator Patients at Time of First Replacement: DARC (Death After Replacement of CRT) score.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2021 Apr 6. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Department of Cardiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: Cardiac resynchronization defibrillator (CRT-D) as primary prevention is known to reduce mortality. At time of replacement, higher age and comorbidities may attenuate the benefit of implantable defibrillator (ICD) therapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the progression of comorbidities after implantation and their association with mortality following CRT-D generator replacement. In addition, a risk score was developed to identify patients at high risk for mortality after replacement.

Methods And Results: We identified patients implanted with a primary prevention CRT-D (n=648) who subsequently underwent elective generator replacement (n=218) from 2 prospective ICD registries. The cohort consisted of 218 patients (median age 70 years, male gender 73%, mean LVEF 36 ± 11% at replacement). Median follow-up after replacement was 4.2 years during which 64 patients (29%) died and 11 patients (5%) received appropriate ICD shocks. An increase in comorbidities was observed in 77 patients (35%). The 5-year mortality rate was 41% in patients with ≥ 2 comorbidities at time of replacement. A risk score incorporating age, gender, LVEF, atrial fibrillation, anemia, chronic kidney disease, and history of appropriate ICD shocks at time of replacement accurately predicted 5-year mortality (C-statistic 0.829). Patients with a risk score of >2.5 had excess mortality at 5-year post replacement compared with patients with a risk score <1.5 (57% vs 6%; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: A simple risk score accurately predicts 5-year mortality after replacement in CRT-D patients, as patients with a risk score of >2.5 are at high risk of dying despite ICD protection. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.15031DOI Listing
April 2021

Pre-procedural arrhythmia burden and the outcome of catheter ablation of idiopathic premature ventricular complexes.

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2021 Apr 15;44(4):703-710. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Department of Cardiology, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Background: Radiofrequency catheter ablation of idiopathic premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) is an effective method for eliminating symptoms and preventing/reversing arrhythmia-induced cardiomyopathy. One reason for procedural failure is low PVC frequency during the procedure. We aimed to investigate the relation between pre-procedural PVC burden and outcome of idiopathic PVC catheter ablation.

Methods: Patients who underwent idiopathic PVC ablation between 2013 and 2019 at two tertiary referral centers were retrospectively included. All procedures were performed using irrigated-tip ablation catheters and a 3D electro-anatomical mapping system. Sustained ablation success was defined as a ≥80% reduction of pre-procedural PVC burden determined by 24h-Holter at follow-up.

Results: Overall, 254 patients (median age 54 years [IQR 42-64]; 47% male) were enrolled. The median pre-ablation PVC-burden was 22% (IQR 11-31%), which was reduced to a post-ablation PVC burden of 0.3% (IQR 0-4%) after a median of 90 days. Sustained ablation success was achieved in 182 patients (72%). Pre-procedural PVC burden did not differ between patients with sustained ablation success and recurrence during follow-up (median 21% vs. 22%, p = .76). When assessed in pre-ablation PVC-burden groups of ≤5%, 6-15%, 16-30%, and ≥31%, sustained ablation success was achieved in 67%, 75%, 71%, and 72%, respectively, with no significant difference (p = .89). Sustained ablation outcome for PVC-burden ≤5% versus >5% showed no difference either (67% vs. 72%, p = .52).

Conclusions: Pre-procedural Holter-determined PVC burden does not predict the outcome of idiopathic PVC ablation. Thus, catheter ablation may be a reasonable first choice also for patients with symptomatic yet rare PVCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pace.14211DOI Listing
April 2021

Alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular outcomes and bleeding in patients with established atrial fibrillation.

CMAJ 2021 Jan;193(4):E117-E123

Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel (Reddiess, Aeschbacher, Meyre, Coslovsky, Kühne, Müller, Steiner, Sticherling, Osswald, Conen); Cardiology Division (Reddiess, Aeschbacher, Meyre, Coslovsky, Kühne, Müller, Steiner, Sticherling, Osswald); Clinical Trial Unit Basel, Department of Clinical Research (Coslovsky), University Hospital Basel, Switzerland; Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM) (Rodondi), University of Bern; Department of General Internal Medicine (Rodondi), Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; Department of Medicine (Beer), Cantonal Hospital of Baden and Molecular Cardiology, University Hospital of Zürich, Switzerland; Department of Cardiology (Kobza), Luzerner Kantonsspital, Switzerland; Department of Cardiology (Moschovitis), EOC Ospedale Regionale di Lugano, Switzerland; Department of Cardiology (Di Valentino), EOC Ospedale San Giovanni, Bellinzona, Switzerland; Department of Neurology and Stroke Center (Bonati), University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Switzerland; Population Health Research Institute (Conen), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

Background: Little is known about the association between alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular events in patients with established atrial fibrillation (AF). The main aim of the current study was to investigate the associations of regular alcohol intake with incident stroke or systemic embolism in patients with established AF.

Methods: To assess the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular events in patients with established AF, we combined data from 2 comparable prospective cohort studies that followed 3852 patients with AF for a median of 3.0 years. Patients were grouped into 4 categories of daily alcohol intake (none, > 0 to < 1, 1 to < 2 and ≥ 2 drinks/d). The primary outcome was a composite of stroke and systemic embolism. Secondary outcomes were all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, hospital admission for acute heart failure, and a composite of major and clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding. Associations were assessed using time-updated, multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: Mean age (± standard deviation) was 71 ± 10 years (28% were women and 84% were on oral anticoagulants). We observed 136 confirmed strokes or systemic emboli. Compared with nondrinkers, adjusted hazard ratios for the primary outcome event were 0.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.55-1.37 for > 0 to < 1 drinks/d; 0.70, 95% CI 0.39-1.25 for 1 to < 2 drinks/d; and 0.96, 95% CI 0.56-1.67 for ≥ 2 drinks/d ( for linear [quadratic] trend 0.71 [0.22]). There was no significant association between alcohol consumption and bleeding, but there was a nonlinear association with heart failure ( for quadratic trend 0.01) and myocardial infarction ( for quadratic trend 0.007).

Interpretation: In patients with AF, we did not find a significant association between low to moderate alcohol intake and risk of stroke or other cardiovascular events. Our findings do not support special recommendations for patients with established AF with regard to alcohol consumption.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT02105844.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.200778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7954562PMC
January 2021

The Admit-AF risk score: A clinical risk score for predicting hospital admissions in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2020 Mar 31. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.

Aims: To develop and externally validate a risk score for all-cause hospital admissions in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Methods And Results: We used a prospective cohort of 2387 patients with established atrial fibrillation as derivation cohort. Independent risk factors were selected from a broad range of variables using the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator method fit to a Cox model. The risk score was validated in a separate prospective cohort of 1300 atrial fibrillation patients. The incidence of all-cause hospital admission was 19.1 per 100 person-years in the derivation cohort and it was 26.1 per 100 person-years in the validation cohort. The most important predictors for admission were age (75-79 years: adjusted hazard ratio (aHR), 1.34; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01-1.78; 80-84 years: aHR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.11-2.03; ≥85 years: aHR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.36-2.62), prior pulmonary vein isolation (aHR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.58-0.88), hypertension (aHR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.99-1.36), diabetes (aHR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.17-1.62), coronary heart disease (aHR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.02-1.36), prior stroke/transient ischaemic attack (aHR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.18-1.47), heart failure (aHR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.03-1.39), peripheral artery disease (aHR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.08-1.67), cancer (aHR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.12-1.57), renal failure (aHR, 1.17; 95% CI, 0.99-1.37) and previous falls (aHR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.13-1.74). A risk score with these variables was well calibrated, and achieved a C-index of 0.64 in the derivation and 0.59 in the validation cohort.

Conclusions: Multiple risk factors were associated with hospital admissions in atrial fibrillation patients. This prediction tool selects high-risk patients who may benefit from preventive interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2047487320915350DOI Listing
March 2020

Development and external validation of prediction models to predict implantable cardioverter-defibrillator efficacy in primary prevention of sudden cardiac death.

Europace 2021 Feb 14. Epub 2021 Feb 14.

Department of Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, Location AMC, University of Amsterdam, Heart Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Aims: This study was performed to develop and externally validate prediction models for appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) shock and mortality to identify subgroups with insufficient benefit from ICD implantation.

Methods And Results: We recruited patients scheduled for primary prevention ICD implantation and reduced left ventricular function. Bootstrapping-based Cox proportional hazards and Fine and Gray competing risk models with likely candidate predictors were developed for all-cause mortality and appropriate ICD shock, respectively. Between 2014 and 2018, we included 1441 consecutive patients in the development and 1450 patients in the validation cohort. During a median follow-up of 2.4 (IQR 2.1-2.8) years, 109 (7.6%) patients received appropriate ICD shock and 193 (13.4%) died in the development cohort. During a median follow-up of 2.7 (IQR 2.0-3.4) years, 105 (7.2%) received appropriate ICD shock and 223 (15.4%) died in the validation cohort. Selected predictors of appropriate ICD shock were gender, NSVT, ACE/ARB use, atrial fibrillation history, Aldosterone-antagonist use, Digoxin use, eGFR, (N)OAC use, and peripheral vascular disease. Selected predictors of all-cause mortality were age, diuretic use, sodium, NT-pro-BNP, and ACE/ARB use. C-statistic was 0.61 and 0.60 at respectively internal and external validation for appropriate ICD shock and 0.74 at both internal and external validation for mortality.

Conclusion: Although this cohort study was specifically designed to develop prediction models, risk stratification still remains challenging and no large group with insufficient benefit of ICD implantation was found. However, the prediction models have some clinical utility as we present several scenarios where ICD implantation might be postponed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab012DOI Listing
February 2021

Nocturnal respiratory rate predicts ICD benefit: A prospective, controlled, multicentre cohort study.

EClinicalMedicine 2021 Jan 21;31:100695. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Klinikum rechts der Isar, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Background: Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) prevent sudden cardiac death. ICD implantation decisions are currently based on reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF≤35%). However, in some patients, the non-arrhythmic death risk predominates thus diminishing ICD-therapy benefits. Based on previous observations, we tested the hypothesis that compared to the others, patients with nocturnal respiratory rate (NRR) ≥18 breaths per minute (brpm) benefit less from prophylactic ICD implantations.

Methods: This prospective cohort study was a pre-defined sub-study of EU-CERT-ICD trial conducted at 44 centers in 15 EU countries between May 12, 2014, and September 6, 2018. Patients with ischaemic or non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy were included if meeting primary prophylactic ICD implantation criteria. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality. NRR was assessed blindly from pre-implantation 24-hour Holters. Multivariable models and propensity stratification evaluated the interaction between NRR and the ICD mortality effect. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT0206419).

Findings: Of the 2,247 EU-CERT-ICD patients, this sub-study included 1,971 with complete records. In 1,363 patients (61.7 (12) years; 244 women) an ICD was implanted; 608 patients (63.2 (12) years; 108 women) were treated conservatively. During a median 2.5-year follow-up, 202 (14.8%) and 95 (15.6%) patients died in the ICD and control groups, respectively. NRR statistically significantly interacted with the ICD mortality effect ( = 0.0070). While the 1,316 patients with NRR<18 brpm showed a marked ICD benefit on mortality (adjusted HR 0.529 (95% CI 0.376-0.746);  = 0.0003), no treatment effect was demonstrated in 655 patients with NRR≥18 brpm (adjusted HR 0.981 (95% CI 0.669-1.438);  = 0.9202).

Interpretation: In the EU-CERT-ICD trial, patients with NRR≥18 brpm showed limited benefit from primary prophylactic ICD implantation. Those with NRR<18 brpm benefitted substantially.

Funding: European Community's 7th Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 (602299).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100695DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7846675PMC
January 2021

Application of the heart failure meta-score to predict prognosis in patients with cardiac resynchronization defibrillators.

Int J Cardiol 2021 May 28;330:73-79. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Heart Failure/Transplant program, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: The Heart Failure (HF) Meta-score may be useful in predicting prognosis in patients with primary prevention cardiac resynchronization defibrillators (CRT-D) considering the competing risk of appropriate defibrillator shock versus mortality.

Methods: Data from 648 consecutive patients from two centers were used for the evaluation of the performance of the HF Meta-score. The primary endpoint was mortality and the secondary endpoint was time to first appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) shock or death without prior appropriate ICD shock. Fine-Gray model was used for competing risk regression analysis.

Results: In the entire cohort, 237 patients died over a median follow-up of 5.2 years. Five-year cumulative incidence of mortality ranged from 12% to 53%, for quintiles 1 through 5 of the HF Meta-score, respectively (log-rank P < 0.001). Compared with the lowest quintile, mortality risk was higher in the highest quintile (HR 6.9; 95%CI 3.7-12.8). The HF Meta-score had excellent calibration, accuracy, and good discrimination in predicting mortality (C-statistic 0.76 at 1-year and 0.71 at 5-year). The risk of death without appropriate ICD shock was higher in risk quintile 5 compared to quintile 1 (sub HR 5.8; 95%CI 3.1-11.0, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated a good ability of the HF Meta-score to predict survival in HF patients treated with CRT-D as primary prevention. The HF Meta-score proved to be useful in identifying a subgroup with a significantly poor prognosis despite a CRT-D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2021.01.011DOI Listing
May 2021

Blood Pressure and Brain Lesions in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation.

Hypertension 2021 Feb 28;77(2):662-671. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

From the Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine (S.A., S.B., P.M., M.C., C.H., T.B., C.E., C.S.Z., C.S., S.O., M.K.), University of Basel, Switzerland.

The association of blood pressure (BP) and hypertension with the presence of different types of brain lesions in patients with atrial fibrillation is unclear. BP values were obtained in a multicenter cohort of patients with atrial fibrillation. Systolic and diastolic BP was categorized in predefined groups. All patients underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging and neurocognitive testing. Brain lesions were classified as large noncortical or cortical infarcts, small noncortical infarcts, microbleeds, or white matter lesions. White matter lesions were graded according to the Fazekas scale. Overall, 1738 patients with atrial fibrillation were enrolled in this cross-sectional analysis (mean age, 73 years, 73% males). Mean BP was 135/79 mm Hg, and 67% of participants were taking BP-lowering treatment. White matter lesions Fazekas ≥2 were found in 54%, large noncortical or cortical infarcts in 22%, small noncortical infarcts in 21%, and microbleeds in 22% of patients, respectively. Compared with patients with systolic BP <120 mm Hg, the adjusted odds ratios (95% CI) for Fazekas≥2 was 1.25 (0.94-1.66), 1.41 (1.03-1.93), and 2.54 (1.65-3.95) among patients with systolic BP of 120 to 140, 140 to 160, and ≥160 mm Hg ( for linear trend<0.001). Per 5 mm Hg increase in systolic and diastolic BP, the adjusted β-coefficient (95% CI) for log-transformed white matter lesions was 0.04 (0.02-0.05), <0.001 and 0.04 (0.01-0.06), =0.004. Systolic BP was associated with small noncortical infarcts (odds ratios [95% CI] per 5 mm Hg 1.05 [1.01-1.08], =0.006), microbleeds were associated with hypertension, but large noncortical or cortical infarcts were not associated with BP or hypertension. After multivariable adjustment, BP and hypertension were not associated with neurocognitive function. Among patients with atrial fibrillation, BP is strongly associated with the presence and extent of white matter lesions, but there is no association with large noncortical or cortical infarcts. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02105844.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.16025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803457PMC
February 2021

Effect of COVID-19 on acute treatment of ST-segment elevation and Non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome in northwestern Switzerland.

Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc 2021 Feb 4;32:100686. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Department of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel (CRIB), University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Background: To investigate the effect of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the acute treatment of patients with ST-segment elevation (STEMI) and Non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS).

Methods: We retrospectively identified patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with suspected ACS. We evaluated the number of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) for STEMI, NSTE-ACS, and elective PCI cases. In STEMI patients, we assessed the time from chest pain onset (cpo) to ED presentation, post-infarction left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), and time from ED presentation to PCI. We directly compared cases from two time intervals: January/February 2020 versus March/April 2020 (defined as 2 months before and after the COVID-19 outbreak). In a secondary analysis, we directly compared cases from March/April 2020 with patients from the same time interval in 2019.

Results: From January to April 2020, 765 patients presented with acute chest pain to the ED. A dramatic reduction of ED presentations after compared to before the COVID-19 outbreak (31% relative reduction) was observed. Overall, 398 PCIs were performed, 220/398 PCIs (55.3%) before versus 178/398 PCIs (44.7%) after the outbreak. While numbers for NSTE-ACS and elective interventions declined by 21% and 31%, respectively, the number of STEMI cases remained stable. Time from cpo to ED presentation, post-infarction LVEF, and median door-to-balloon time remained unchanged.

Conclusions: In contrast to previous reports, our findings do not confirm the dramatic drop in STEMI cases and interventions in northwestern Switzerland as observed in other regions and hospitals around the world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcha.2020.100686DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7734221PMC
February 2021

Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 and risk of congestive heart failure hospitalization in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Apr 3;18(4):512-519. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: The occurrence of congestive heart failure (CHF) hospitalization among patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) is a poor prognostic marker.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess whether insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP-7), a marker of myocardial damage, identifies AF patients at high risk for this complication.

Methods: We analyzed 2 prospective multicenter observational cohort studies that included 3691 AF patients. Levels of IGFBP-7 and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) were measured from frozen plasma samples at baseline. The primary endpoint was hospitalization for CHF. Multivariable adjusted Cox regression analyses were constructed.

Results: Mean patient age was 69 ± 12 years, 1028 (28%) were female, and 879 (24%) had a history of CHF. The incidence per 1000 patient-years across increasing IGFBP-7 quartiles was 7, 10, 32, and 85. The corresponding multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) (95% confidence interval [CI]) were 1.0, 1.05 (0.63-1.77), 2.38 (1.50-3.79), and 4.37 (2.72-7.04) (P for trend <.001). In a subgroup of 2812 patients without pre-existing CHF at baseline, the corresponding aHRs were 1.0, 0.90 (0.47-1.72), 1.69 (0.94-3.04), and 3.48 (1.94-6.24) (P for trend <.001). Patients with IGFBP-7 and NT-proBNP levels above the biomarker-specific median had a higher risk of incident CHF hospitalization (aHR 5.20; 3.35-8.09) compared to those with only 1 elevated marker (elevated IGFBP-7 aHR 2.17; 1.30-3.60); elevated NT-proBNP aHR 1.97; 1.17-3.33); or no elevated marker (reference).

Conclusion: Higher plasma levels of IGFBP-7 were strongly and independently associated with CHF hospitalization in AF patients. The prognostic information provided by IGFBP-7 was additive to that of NT-proBNP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.11.028DOI Listing
April 2021

Impact of contact force sensing technology on outcome of catheter ablation of idiopathic pre-mature ventricular contractions originating from the outflow tracts.

Europace 2021 Apr;23(4):603-609

Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Aims: Catheter ablation of frequent idiopathic pre-mature ventricular contractions (PVC) is increasingly performed. While potential benefits of contact force (CF)-sensing technology for atrial fibrillation ablation have been assessed in several studies, the impact of CF-sensing on ventricular arrhythmia ablation remains unknown. This study aimed to compare outcomes of idiopathic outflow tract PVC ablation when using standard ablation catheters as opposed to CF-sensing catheters.

Methods And Results: In a retrospective multi-centre study, unselected patients undergoing catheter ablation of idiopathic outflow tract PVCs between 2013 and 2016 were enrolled. All procedures were performed using irrigated-tip ablation catheters and a 3D electro-anatomical mapping system. Sustained ablation success was defined as a  ≥80% reduction of pre-procedural PVC burden determined by 24 h Holter ECG during follow-up. Overall, 218 patients were enrolled (median age 52 years, 51% males). Baseline and procedural data were similar in the standard ablation (24%) and the CF-sensing group (76%). Overall, the median PVC burden decreased from 21% (IQR 10-30%) before ablation to 0.2% (IQR 0-3.0%) after a median follow-up of 2.3 months (IQR 1.4-3.9 months). The rates of both acute (91% vs. 91%, P = 0.94) and sustained success (79% vs. 74%, P = 0.44) were similar in the standard ablation and the CF-sensing groups. No differences were observed in subgroups according to arrhythmia origin from the RVOT (65%) or LVOT (35%). Complications were rare (1.8%) and evenly distributed between the two groups.

Conclusion: The use of CF-sensing technology is not associated with increased success rate nor decreased complication rate in idiopathic outflow tract PVC ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa315DOI Listing
April 2021

Ventricular tachycardia catheter ablation after repaired tetralogy of Fallot: how to overcome an electrical short circuit.

Europace 2020 11;22(11):1687

Department of Cardiology and the Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa167DOI Listing
November 2020

Association of psychosocial factors with all-cause hospitalizations in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Clin Cardiol 2021 Jan 10;44(1):51-57. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: A high burden of cardiovascular comorbidities puts patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) at high risk for hospitalizations, but the role of other factors is less clear.

Hypothesis: To determine the relationship between psychosocial factors and the risk of unplanned hospitalizations in AF patients.

Methods: Prospective observational cohort study of 2378 patients aged 65 or older with previously diagnosed AF across 14 centers in Switzerland. Marital status and education level were defined as social factors, depression and health perception were psychological components. The pre-defined outcome was unplanned all-cause hospitalization.

Results: During a median follow-up of 2.0 years, a total of 1713 hospitalizations occurred in 37% of patients. Compared to patients who were married, adjusted rate ratios (aRR) for all-cause hospitalizations were 1.28 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.97-1.69) for singles, 1.31 (95%CI, 1.06-1.62) for divorced patients, and 1.02 (95%CI, 0.82-1.25) for widowed patients. The aRRs for all-cause hospitalizations across increasing quartiles of health perception were 1.0 (highest health perception), 1.15 (95%CI, 0.84-1.59), 1.25 (95%CI, 1.03-1.53), and 1.66 (95%CI, 1.34-2.07). No different hospitalization rates were observed in patients with a secondary or primary or less education as compared to patients with a college degree (aRR, 1.06; 95%CI, 0.91-1.23 and 1.05; 95%CI, 0.83-1.33, respectively). Presence of depression was not associated with higher hospitalization rates (aRR, 0.94; 95%CI, 0.68-1.29).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that psychosocial factors, including marital status and health perception, are strongly associated with the occurrence of hospitalizations in AF patients. Targeted psychosocial support interventions may help to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT02105844.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/clc.23503DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803348PMC
January 2021

Substrate characterization for ventricular tachycardia ablation using a new image processing service.

Clin Res Cardiol 2020 Oct 13. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4031, Basel, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00392-020-01755-1DOI Listing
October 2020

Use of the wearable cardioverter-defibrillator - the Swiss experience.

Swiss Med Wkly 2020 Sep 30;150:w20343. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Division of Cardiology, University Heart Centre Zurich, Switzerland.

Introduction: Sudden cardiac death caused by malignant arrhythmia can be prevented by the use of defibrillators. Although the wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) can prevent such an event, its role in clinical practice is ill defined. We investigated the use of the WCD in Switzerland with emphasis on prescription rate, therapy adherence and treatment rate.

Materials And Methods: The Swiss WCD Registry is a retrospective observational registry including patients using a WCD. Patients were included from the first WCD use in Switzerland until February 2018. Baseline characteristics and data on WCD usage were examined for the total study population, and separately for each hospital.

Results: From 1 December 2011 to 18 February 2018, a total of 456 patients (67.1% of all WCDs prescribed in Switzerland and 81.1% of all prescribed in the participating hospitals) were included in the registry. Up to 2017 there was a yearly increase in the number of prescribed WCDs to a maximum of 271 prescriptions per year. The mean age of patients was 57 years (± 14), 81 (17.8%) were female and mean left ventricular ejection fraction (EF) was 32% (± 13). The most common indications for WCD use were new-onset ischaemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) with EF ≤35% (206 patients, 45.2%), new-onset nonischaemic cardiomyopathy (NICM) with EF ≤35% (115 patients, 25.2%), unknown arrhythmic risk (83 patients, 18.2%), bridging to implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation or heart transplant (37 patients, 8.1%) and congenital/inherited heart disease (15 patients, 3.3%). Median wear duration was 58 days (interquartile range [IQR] 31–94) with a median average daily wear time of 22.6 hours (IQR 20–23.2). Seventeen appropriate therapies from the WCD were delivered in the whole population (treatment rate: 3.7%) to a total of 12 patients (2.6% of all patients). The most common underlying heart disease in patients with a treatment was ICM (13/17, 76.5%). There were no inappropriate treatments.

Conclusion: The use of WCDs has increased in Switzerland over the years for a variety of indications. There is high therapy adherence to the WCD, and a treatment rate comparable to previously published registry data.  .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4414/smw.2020.20343DOI Listing
September 2020

C-reactive protein for prediction of atrial fibrillation recurrence after catheter ablation.

BMC Cardiovasc Disord 2020 09 29;20(1):427. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4031, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Inflammation plays an important role in the initiation and progression of atrial fibrillation (AF), but data about the relationship between subclinical inflammation and recurrence of AF after catheter ablation remains poorly studied. We aimed to assess whether plasma levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are associated with long-term AF recurrence following catheter ablation.

Methods: Prior to the intervention, plasma CRP concentrations were measured in patients who underwent first catheter ablation for AF. AF recurrence was evaluated after 12 months and defined as any AF episode longer than 30 s recorded on either 12-lead electrocardiogram, 24-h Holter or 7-day Holter monitoring. Multivariable adjusted Cox models were constructed to examine the association of CRP levels and AF recurrence.

Results: Of the 711 patients (mean age: 61 years, 25% women) included in this study, 247 patients (35%) experienced AF recurrence after ablation. Patients who were in the highest CRP quartile had a higher rate of recurrent AF compared to those who were in the lowest quartile (53.4 vs. 33.1% at 1 year of follow-up; P = 0.004). The adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) of recurrent AF across increasing quartiles of CRP were 1.0 (reference), 1.26 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86-1.84), 1.15 (95% CI, 0.78-1.70) and 1.60 (95% CI, 1.10-2.34) (P trend = 0.015). A similar effect was observed when CRP was analyzed as continuous variable (aHR per unit increase, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.05-1.39; P = 0.009). When a predefined CRP cut-off of 3 mg/l was applied, patients with CRP levels of 3 mg/l or above had a higher risk of AF recurrence than those with levels below (aHR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.06-1.95; P = 0.019).

Conclusions: Increasing pre-interventional CRP levels are associated with a higher risk of AF recurrence in patients undergoing catheter ablation for AF.

Trail Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier, NCT03718364.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12872-020-01711-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7526257PMC
September 2020

Heart Rate Variability Triangular Index as a Predictor of Cardiovascular Mortality in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 08 28;9(15):e016075. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Department of Cardiology University Hospital Basel Basel Switzerland.

Background Impaired heart rate variability (HRV) is associated with increased mortality in sinus rhythm. However, HRV has not been systematically assessed in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). We hypothesized that parameters of HRV may be predictive of cardiovascular death in patients with AF. Methods and Results From the multicenter prospective Swiss-AF (Swiss Atrial Fibrillation) Cohort Study, we enrolled 1922 patients who were in sinus rhythm or AF. Resting ECG recordings of 5-minute duration were obtained at baseline. Standard parameters of HRV (HRV triangular index, SD of the normal-to-normal intervals, square root of the mean squared differences of successive normal-to-normal intervals and mean heart rate) were calculated. During follow-up, an end point committee adjudicated each cause of death. During a mean follow-up time of 2.6±1.0 years, 143 (7.4%) patients died; 92 deaths were attributable to cardiovascular reasons. In a Cox regression model including multiple covariates (age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, history of diabetes mellitus, history of hypertension, history of stroke/transient ischemic attack, history of myocardial infarction, antiarrhythmic drugs including β blockers, oral anticoagulation), a decreased HRV index ≤ median (14.29), but not other HRV parameters, was associated with an increase in the risk of cardiovascular death (hazard ratio, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.6; =0.01) and all-cause death (hazard ratio, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.02-1.98; =0.04). Conclusions The HRV index measured in a single 5-minute ECG recording in a cohort of patients with AF is an independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality. HRV analysis in patients with AF might be a valuable tool for further risk stratification to guide patient management. Registration URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02105844.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.016075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7792265PMC
August 2020

[In memoriam of Dr. Dietrich Kalusche - a pioneer of German electrophysiology].

Herzschrittmacherther Elektrophysiol 2020 Sep;31(3):323-324

Klinik für Kardiologie, Universitätsspital Basel, Basel, Schweiz.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00399-020-00713-8DOI Listing
September 2020

First-degree atrioventricular block in patients with atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter: the prevalence of intra-atrial conduction delay.

J Interv Card Electrophysiol 2020 Jul 30. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Department of Cardiology/Electrophysiology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Purpose: PR interval prolongation > 200 ms resulting in the diagnosis of first-degree atrioventricular block (AVB1) is caused by a delay in the AV nodal/His conduction and/or the right intra-atrial conduction (RIAC). The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of AVB1 due to RIAC delay (AVB1 with normal AH and HV) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFlu).

Methods: We included 1067 consecutive patients (33% female, age 63 ± 13 years) referred for catheter ablation of AF (AF-group) (453 patients), AF and AFlu (136 patients), AFlu (292 patients), and AVNRT/AVRT (186 patients). AH-, HV-, PR-interval, and P-wave duration were measured on the 12-lead ECG and the intracardiac electrograms in sinus rhythm. RIAC delay was defined as a prolonged PR interval > 200 ms with normal AH and HV intervals.

Results: The prevalence of AVB1 is higher in patients with AFlu (41%) and AF (21%) and patients with both arrhythmias (30%) as compared with a reference group (8%) of patients with AVNRT/AVRT. AVB1 was due to RIAC delay in 42 of 67 patients (63%) in the AF-group, in 37 of 96 patients (39%) in the AFlu-group, and in 17 of 36 patients (47%) in the AF/AFlu group, respectively. AV nodal conduction delay was more common in AFlu patients compared with AF patients.

Conclusion: RIAC delay is a common underlying cause of AVB1 in patients with AF and AFlu. These findings may impact the prescription of antiarrhythmic and AV-nodal blocking drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10840-020-00838-3DOI Listing
July 2020

Symptoms and quality of life in patients with coexistent atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.

Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc 2020 Aug 16;29:100556. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Aims: Atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL) are two of the most common atrial arrhythmias and often coexist. Many patients with AF or AFL are symptomatic, which impacts their quality of life (QoL). The purpose of this study was to determine whether coexistent AFL represents an added burden for AF patients.

Methods: We combined baseline data from two large prospective, observational, multicenter cohort studies (BEAT-AF and Swiss-AF). All 3931 patients included in this analysis had documented AF. We obtained information on comorbidities, medication, and lifestyle factors All participants had a clinical examination and a resting ECG. Symptom burden and QoL at the baseline examination were compared between patients with and without coexistent AFL using multivariable adjusted regression models.

Results: Overall, 809 (20.6%) patients had a history of AFL. Patients with coexistent AFL more often had history of heart failure (28% vs 23%, p = 0.01), coronary artery disease (30% vs 26%, p = 0.007), failed therapy with antiarrhythmic drugs (44% vs 29%, p < 0.001), and more often underwent AF-related interventions (36% vs 17%, p < 0.001). They were more often symptomatic (70% vs 66%, p = 0.04) and effort intolerant (OR: 1.14; 95% CI: 1.01-1.28; p = 0.04). Documented AFL on the baseline ECG was associated with more symptoms (OR: 2.30; 95% CI: 1.26-4.20; p = 0.007).

Conclusion: Our data indicates that patients with coexistent AF and AFL are more often symptomatic and report poorer quality of life compared to patients suffering from AF only.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcha.2020.100556DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303549PMC
August 2020

Canakinumab After Electrical Cardioversion in Patients With Persistent Atrial Fibrillation: A Pilot Randomized Trial.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2020 07 14;13(7):e008197. Epub 2020 Jun 14.

Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Canada (D.C.).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.119.008197DOI Listing
July 2020

Automated electrocardiographic quantification of myocardial scar in patients undergoing primary prevention implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation: Association with mortality and subsequent appropriate and inappropriate therapies.

Heart Rhythm 2020 10 17;17(10):1664-1671. Epub 2020 May 17.

Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Myocardial scarring from infarction or nonischemic fibrosis forms an arrhythmogenic substrate. The Selvester QRS score has been developed to estimate myocardial scar from the 12-lead electrocardiogram.

Objective: We aimed to assess the value of an automated version of the Selvester QRS score for the prediction of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy and death in patients undergoing primary prevention ICD implantation.

Methods: Unselected patients undergoing primary prevention ICD implantation were included in this retrospective, observational, multicenter study. The QRS score was calculated automatically from a digital standard preimplantation 12-lead electrocardiogram and was correlated to the occurrence of death and appropriate and inappropriate shocks during follow-up. Analyses were performed in groups defined by QRS duration < 130 ms vs ≥ 130 ms.

Results: Overall, 1047 patients (872 [83%] men; median age 64 years IQR [55-71]) with ischemic (648, 62%) or nonischemic (399, 38%) cardiomyopathy were included. The median QRS duration was 123 ms (interquartile range [IQR] 111-157 ms), and the median QRS score was 5 (IQR 2-8). The QRS duration was <130 ms in 59% and ≥130 ms in 41%. During a median follow-up of 45 months (IQR 24-72 months), a QRS score of ≥5 was independently associated with a significantly higher risk of mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.67; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-2.66; P = .031) and appropriate (HR 1.83; 95% CI 1.07-3.14; P = .028) and inappropriate (HR 2.32; 95% CI 1.04-5.17; P = .039) shocks in patients with QRS duration ≥ 130 ms. No association of the QRS score and outcome was observed in patients with QRS duration < 130 ms (P > .05).

Conclusion: The automatically calculated Selvester QRS score, an indicator of myocardial scar burden, predicts mortality and appropriate and inappropriate shocks in patients undergoing primary prevention ICD implantation with a prolonged QRS duration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.05.016DOI Listing
October 2020

Cryoballoon pulmonary vein isolation as first line treatment for typical atrial flutter (CRAFT): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

J Interv Card Electrophysiol 2020 May 8. Epub 2020 May 8.

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Thomas Drive, Liverpool, L14 3PE, UK.

Purpose: Treatment of typical atrial flutter (AFL) with cavo-tricuspid isthmus (CTI) ablation is associated with a high occurrence rate of new onset atrial fibrillation (AF) during follow-up. There are data to support the addition of pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) to CTI ablation in patients with both AF and AFL, but the role of cryoballoon PVI only, with no CTI ablation, in AFL patients with no prior documentation of AF has not been studied.

Methods: CRAFT is an international, prospective, randomised, open with blinded assessment, multicentre superiority study comparing radiofrequency CTI ablation and cryoballoon PVI in patients with typical AFL. Participants with typical AFL are randomised in a 1:1 ratio to either treatment arm, with patients randomised to PVI not receiving CTI ablation. Post-procedural cardiac monitoring is performed using an implantable loop recorder. The primary endpoint is time to first recurrence of sustained symptomatic atrial arrhythmia. Key secondary endpoints include (1) total arrhythmia burden at 12 months, (2) time to first episode of AF lasting ≥ 2 min, (3) time to recurrence of AFL or AT and (4) procedural and fluoroscopy times. The primary safety endpoint is the composite of death, stroke/transient ischaemic attack, cardiac tamponade requiring drainage, atrio-oesophageal fistula, requirement for a permanent pacemaker, serious vascular complications requiring intervention or delaying discharge and persistent phrenic nerve palsy lasting > 24 h.

Conclusion: This study compares the outcomes of 2 different approaches to typical AFL-the conventional 'substrate'-based strategy of radiofrequency CTI ablation versus a novel 'trigger'-based strategy of cryoballoon PVI.

Trial Registration: (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03401099).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10840-020-00746-6DOI Listing
May 2020

Clinical effectiveness of primary prevention implantable cardioverter-defibrillators: results of the EU-CERT-ICD controlled multicentre cohort study.

Eur Heart J 2020 09;41(36):3437-3447

Heart and Vascular Center, Semmelweis University Heart Center, Gaál József út 9, 1122 Budapest, Hungary.

Aims: The EUropean Comparative Effectiveness Research to Assess the Use of Primary ProphylacTic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (EU-CERT-ICD), a prospective investigator-initiated, controlled cohort study, was conducted in 44 centres and 15 European countries. It aimed to assess current clinical effectiveness of primary prevention ICD therapy.

Methods And Results: We recruited 2327 patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and guideline indications for prophylactic ICD implantation. Primary endpoint was all-cause mortality. Clinical characteristics, medications, resting, and 12-lead Holter electrocardiograms (ECGs) were documented at enrolment baseline. Baseline and follow-up (FU) data from 2247 patients were analysable, 1516 patients before first ICD implantation (ICD group) and 731 patients without ICD serving as controls. Multivariable models and propensity scoring for adjustment were used to compare the two groups for mortality. During mean FU of 2.4 ± 1.1 years, 342 deaths occurred (6.3%/years annualized mortality, 5.6%/years in the ICD group vs. 9.2%/years in controls), favouring ICD treatment [unadjusted hazard ratio (HR) 0.682, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.537-0.865, P = 0.0016]. Multivariable mortality predictors included age, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), New York Heart Association class
Conclusion: In contemporary ICM/DCM patients (LVEF ≤35%, narrow QRS), primary prophylactic ICD treatment was associated with a 27% lower mortality after adjustment. There appear to be patients with less survival advantage, such as older patients or diabetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa226DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7550196PMC
September 2020

Leadless pacemaker implantation quality: importance of the operator's experience.

Europace 2020 06;22(6):939-946

Department of Cardiology, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Freiburgstrasse 3, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.

Aims: Leadless cardiac pacemaker (PM) implantation differs from conventional PM implantation. While the procedure has been considered safe, recent real-world data raised concerns about the learning curve of new operators and their implantation quality. The goal of this study was to investigate the influence of the first operator's experience on leadless PM implantation quality and procedural efficiency.

Methods And Results: We performed a bicentric analysis of all Micra TPS™ implantations in two large tertiary referral hospitals. We assessed both leadless PM implantation quality based on the absence of complications (requiring intervention or prolonged hospitalization), good electrical performance (pacing threshold ≤ 1.5 V/0.24 ms, R-wave amplitude > 5 mV), and acceptable fluoroscopy duration (<10 min) as well as procedural efficiency in relation to the operator's experience. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors for implantation quality and procedural efficiency. Leadless PM implantation was successful in 106/111 cases (95.5%). Three patients (2.7%) experienced acute complications (one cardiac tamponade, one femoral bleeding, one posture-related PM exit block). Multivariate analysis showed that implantation quality of more experienced first operators was higher [odds ratio 1.09 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.19), P = 0.05]. Procedural efficiency increased with operator experience as evidenced by an inverse correlation of procedure time, time to the first deployment, fluoroscopy time, and the number of procedures performed (all P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The operator's learning curve is a critical factor for leadless PM implantation quality and procedural efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa097DOI Listing
June 2020