Publications by authors named "Elena Arbelo"

140 Publications

Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Response Is Equalized in Men and Women by Electrical Optimization: PR Matters.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 Jun 22. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Institut Clínic Cardiovascular, Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Enfermedades Cardiovasculares, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study hypothesized that the shorter intrinsic PR interval observed in women allows a greater degree of fusion with intrinsic conduction, achieving a shorter QRS interval duration and, thus, a better response.

Background: Women benefit more from cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) than men. However, the reason for this difference remains elusive.

Methods: A cohort of 180 patients included in the BEST (Fusion based optimization in resynchronization therapy [ECG Optimization of CRT: Evaluation of Mid-Term Response]; NCT01439529) study were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were initially randomized to either nonoptimized CRT (NON-OPT group; n = 89) or electrocardiographically optimized CRT based on the fusion-optimized intervals (FOI) method (FOI group; n = 91). Echocardiographic response was defined as a >15% decrease in left ventricular end-systolic volume at the 12-month follow-up.

Results: The basal PR interval was shorter in women as compared to men. In the NON-OPT group, CRT resulted in a shorter paced QRS interval in women than in men (134 ± 21 ms vs. 151 ± 21 ms, respectively; p = 0.003, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -27 to -5.6) and better response in women than in men: 70.4% vs. 46.4%, respectively (odds ratio: 0.37; p = 0.04; 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.97). There were no differences in paced QRS interval duration (126 ± 13 ms vs. 129 ± 17 ms; p = 0.47) or response between women and men in the FOI group (68% vs. 70.5%; odds ratio: 1.12; p = 0.82; 95% CI: 0.41 to 3.07). FOI extended the atrioventricular interval to obtain the best fusion; the atrioventricular intervals tended to require greater extension in men than in women (22 ± 33 ms vs. 8 ± 28 ms, respectively; p = 0.07).

Conclusions: Women had a shorter PR interval, which was associated with a shorter QRS interval and better response to CRT. The difference in QRS interval duration and response between men and women did not persist when CRT was optimized using fusion with intrinsic conduction (FOI programming).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2021.03.023DOI Listing
June 2021

World Heart Federation Roadmap on Atrial Fibrillation - A 2020 Update.

Glob Heart 2021 May 27;16(1):41. Epub 2021 May 27.

Universidad de Buenos Aires, AR.

The World Heart Federation (WHF) commenced a Roadmap initiative in 2015 to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular disease and resultant burgeoning of healthcare costs. Roadmaps provide a blueprint for implementation of priority solutions for the principal cardiovascular diseases leading to death and disability. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of these conditions and is an increasing problem due to ageing of the world's population and an increase in cardiovascular risk factors that predispose to AF. The goal of the AF roadmap was to provide guidance on priority interventions that are feasible in multiple countries, and to identify roadblocks and potential strategies to overcome them. Since publication of the AF Roadmap in 2017, there have been many technological advances including devices and artificial intelligence for identification and prediction of unknown AF, better methods to achieve rhythm control, and widespread uptake of smartphones and apps that could facilitate new approaches to healthcare delivery and increasing community AF awareness. In addition, the World Health Organisation added the non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) to the Essential Medicines List, making it possible to increase advocacy for their widespread adoption as therapy to prevent stroke. These advances motivated the WHF to commission a 2020 AF Roadmap update. Three years after the original Roadmap publication, the identified barriers and solutions were judged still relevant, and progress has been slow. This 2020 Roadmap update reviews the significant changes since 2017 and identifies priority areas for achieving the goals of reducing death and disability related to AF, particularly targeted at low-middle income countries. These include advocacy to increase appreciation of the scope of the problem; plugging gaps in guideline management and prevention through physician education, increasing patient health literacy, and novel ways to increase access to integrated healthcare including mHealth and digital transformations; and greater emphasis on achieving practical solutions to national and regional entrenched barriers. Despite the advances reviewed in this update, the task will not be easy, but the health rewards of implementing solutions that are both innovative and practical will be great.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/gh.1023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8162289PMC
May 2021

Cardiac magnetic resonance to predict recurrences after ventricular tachycardia ablation: septal involvement, transmural channels, and left ventricular mass.

Europace 2021 Jun 18. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Arrhythmia Section Institut Clinic Cardiovascular, Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Villarroel, 170, 08036Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Aims: Ventricular tachycardia (VT) substrate-based ablation has an increasing role in patients with structural heart disease-related VT. VT is linked to re-entry in relation to myocardial scarring with areas of conduction block (core scar) and areas of slow conduction [border zone (BZ)]. VT substrate can be analysed by late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance (LGE-CMR). Our study aims to analyse the role of LGE-CMR in identifying predictors of VT recurrence after ablation.

Methods And Results: We analysed 110 consecutive patients who underwent VT ablation from 2013 to 2018. All patients underwent a preprocedural LGE-CMR, and in 94 patients (85.5%), the CMR was used to aid the ablation. All LGE-CMR images were semi-automatically processed using dedicated software to detect scarring and conducting channels. After a median follow-up of 2.7 ± 1.6 years, the overall VT recurrence was 41.8% with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator shock reduction from 43.6% to 28.2% before and after ablation, respectively. The amount of BZ (26.6 ± 13.9 vs. 19.6 ± 9.7 g, P = 0.012), the total amount of scarring (37.1 ± 18.2 vs. 29 ± 16.3 g, P = 0,033), and left ventricular (LV) mass (168.3 ± 53.3 vs. 152.3 ± 46.4 g, P < 0.001) were associated with VT recurrence. LGE septal distribution [62.5% vs. 37.8%; hazard ratio (HR) 1.67 (1.02-3.93), P = 0.044], channels with transmural path [66.7% vs. 31.4%, HR 3.25 (1.70-6.23), P < 0.001], and midmural channels [54.3% vs. 27.6%, HR 2.49 (1.21-5.13), P = 0.013] were related with VT recurrence. Multivariate analysis showed that the presence of septal LGE [HR 3.67 (1.60-8.38), P = 0.002], transmural channels [HR 2.32 (1.15-4.72), P = 0.019], and LV mass [HR 1.01 (1.005-1.019), P = 0.002] were independent predictors of VT recurrence.

Conclusion: Pre-procedural LGE-CMR is a helpful and feasible technique to identify patients with high risk of VT recurrence after ablation. LV mass, septal LGE distribution, and transmural channels were predictive factors of post-ablation VT recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab127DOI Listing
June 2021

Proximity to the descending aorta predicts regional fibrosis in the adjacent left atrial wall: aetiopathogenic and prognostic implications.

Europace 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Unitat de Fibril.lació Auricular (UFA), Institut Clínic Cardiovascular (ICCV), Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Aims: Left atrial (LA) fibrosis is present in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and can be visualized by magnetic resonance imaging with late gadolinium enhancement (LGE-MRI). Previous studies have shown that LA fibrosis is not randomly distributed, being more frequent in the area adjacent to the descending aorta (DAo). The objective of this study is to analyse the relationship between fibrosis in the atrial area adjacent to the DAo and the distance to it, as well as the prognostic implications of this fibrosis.

Methods And Results: Magnetic resonance imaging with late gadolinium enhancement was obtained in 108 patients before AF ablation to analyse the extent of LA fibrosis and the distance DAo-to-LA. A high-density electroanatomic map was performed in a subgroup of 16 patients to exclude the possibility of an MRI artifact. Recurrences after ablation were analysed at 1 year of follow-up. The extent of atrial fibrosis in the area adjacent to the DAo was inversely correlated with the distance DAo-to-LA (r = -0.34, P < 0.001). This area had the greatest intensity of LGE [image intensity ratio (IIR) 1.14 ± 0.15 vs. 0.99 ± 0.16; P < 0.001] and also the lowest voltage (1.07 ± 0.86 vs. 1.54 ± 1.07 mV; P < 0.001) and conduction velocity (0.65 ± 0.06 vs. 0.96 ± 0.57 mm/ms; P < 0.001). The extent of this regional fibrosis predicted recurrence after AF ablation [hazard ratio (HR) 1.02, 95% CI 1.01-1.03; P = 0.01], however total fibrosis did not (HR = 1.01, 95% CI 0.97-1.06, P = 0.54).

Conclusions: Atrial fibrosis was predominantly located in the area adjacent to the DAo, and increased with the proximity between the two structures. Furthermore, this regional fibrosis better predicted recurrence after AF ablation than total atrial fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab107DOI Listing
May 2021

Scar channels in cardiac magnetic resonance to predict appropriate therapies in primary prevention.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Aug 21;18(8):1336-1343. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Institut Clinic Cardiovascular, Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Cardiovasculares (CIBERCV), Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: Scar characteristics analyzed by late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance (LGE-CMR) are related with ventricular arrhythmias. Current guidelines are based only on the left ventricular ejection fraction to recommend an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) in primary prevention.

Objectives: Our study aims to analyze the role of imaging to stratify arrhythmogenic risk in patients with ICD for primary prevention.

Methods: From 2006 to 2017, we included 200 patients with LGE-CMR before ICD implantation for primary prevention. The scar, border zone, core, and conducting channels (CCs) were automatically measured by a dedicated software.

Results: The mean age was 60.9 ± 10.9 years; 81.5% (163) were men; 52% (104) had ischemic cardiomyopathy. The mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 29% ± 10.1%. After a follow-up of 4.6 ± 2 years, 46 patients (22%) reached the primary end point (appropriate ICD therapy). Scar mass (36.2 ± 19 g vs 21.7 ± 10 g; P < .001), border zone mass (26.4 ± 12.5 g vs 16.0 ± 9.5 g; P < .001), core mass (9.9 ± 8.6 g vs 5.5 ± 5.7 g; P < .001), and CC mass (3.0 ± 2.6 g vs 1.6 ± 2.3 g; P < .001) were associated with appropriate therapies. Scar mass > 10 g (25.31% vs 5.26%; hazard ratio 4.74; P = .034) and the presence of CCs (34.75% vs 8.93%; hazard ratio 4.07; P = .003) were also strongly associated with the primary end point. However, patients without channels and with scar mass < 10 g had a very low rate of appropriate therapies (2.8%).

Conclusion: Scar characteristics analyzed by LGE-CMR are strong predictors of appropriate therapies in patients with ICD in primary prevention. The absence of channels and scar mass < 10 g can identify patients at a very low risk of ventricular arrhythmias in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.04.017DOI Listing
August 2021

Reply to the Editor-Electrophysiologic study in women with Brugada Syndrome.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Jun 16;18(6):1039-1040. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Cardiovasculares (CIBERCV), Madrid, Spain; Arrhythmia Section, Cardiology Department, Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; IDIBAPS, Institut d'Investigació August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.03.022DOI Listing
June 2021

Pediatric Malignant Arrhythmias Caused by Rare Homozygous Genetic Variants in : A Comprehensive Interpretation.

Front Pediatr 2020 22;8:601708. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Medical Science Department, School of Medicine, University of Girona, Girona, Spain.

To perform a comprehensive phenotype-genotype correlation of all rare variants in Triadin leading to malignant arrhythmias in pediatrics. Triadin knockout syndrome is a rare entity reported in pediatric population. This syndrome is caused by rare variants in the gene. Malignant ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death can be a primary manifestation of disease. Although pharmacological measures are effective, some patients require an implantable defibrillator due to high risk of arrhythmogenic episodes. Fourteen rare genetic alterations in have been reported to date. All of these potentially pathogenic alterations are located in a specific area of , highlighting this hot spot as an arrhythmogenic gene region. Early recognition and comprehensive interpretation of alterations in Triadin are crucial to adopt preventive measures and avoid malignant arrhythmogenic episodes in pediatric population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.601708DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938306PMC
February 2021

Malignant Arrhythmogenic Role Associated with : A Comprehensive Interpretation Focused on a Personalized Approach.

J Pers Med 2021 Feb 15;11(2). Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Cardiovascular Genetics Center, University of Girona-IDIBGI, 17001 Girona, Spain.

The gene encodes the muscle-specific splicing factor RNA-binding motif 20, a regulator of heart-specific alternative splicing. Nearly 40 potentially deleterious variants in have been reported in the last ten years, being found to be associated with highly arrhythmogenic events in familial dilated cardiomyopathy. Frequently, malignant arrhythmias can be a primary manifestation of disease. The early recognition of arrhythmic genotypes is crucial in avoiding lethal episodes, as it may have an impact on the adoption of personalized preventive measures. Our study performs a comprehensive update of data concerning rare variants in that are associated with malignant arrhythmogenic phenotypes with a focus on personalized medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm11020130DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918949PMC
February 2021

Rare Variants Associated with Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy: Reclassification Five Years Later.

J Pers Med 2021 Feb 26;11(3). Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Cardiovascular Genetics Center, University of Girona-IdIBGi, Girona 17190, Spain.

Genetic interpretation of rare variants associated with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is essential due to their diagnostic implications. New data may relabel previous variant classifications, but how often reanalysis is necessary remains undefined. Five years ago, 39 rare ACM-related variants were identified in patients with features of cardiomyopathy. These variants were classified following the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics' guidelines. In the present study, we reevaluated these rare variants including novel available data. All cases carried one rare variant classified as being of ambiguous significance (82.05%) or likely pathogenic (17.95%) in 2016. In our comprehensive reanalysis, the classification of 30.77% of these variants changed, mainly due to updated global frequencies. As in 2016, nowadays most variants were classified as having an uncertain role (64.1%), but the proportion of variants with an uncertain role was significantly decreased (17.95%). The percentage of rare variants classified as potentially deleterious increased from 17.95% to 23.07%. Moreover, 83.33% of reclassified variants gained certainty. We propose that periodic genetic reanalysis of all rare variants associated with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy should be undertaken at least once every five years. Defining the roles of rare variants may help clinicians obtain a definite diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm11030162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7996798PMC
February 2021

Ventricular tachycardia burden reduction after substrate ablation: Predictors of recurrence.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Jun 24;18(6):896-904. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Clinical Institute, Arrhythmia Unit, Hospital Clinic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Cardiovasculares (CIBERCV), Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: Substrate-based ventricular tachycardia (VT) ablation is a first-line treatment in patients with structural cardiac disease and sustained VT refractory to medical therapy. Despite technological improvements and increased knowledge of VT substrate, recurrence still is frequent. Published data are lacking on the possible reduction in VT burden after ablation despite recurrence.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess VT burden reduction during long-term follow-up after substrate ablation and identify predictors of VT recurrence.

Methods: We analyzed 234 consecutive VT ablation procedures in 207 patients (age 63 ± 14.9 years; 92% male; ischemic heart disease in 65%) who underwent substrate ablation in a single center from 2013 to 2018.

Results: After follow-up of 3.14 ± 1.8 years, the VT recurrence rate was 41.4%. Overall, a 99.6% reduction in VT burden (median VT episodes per year: preprocedural 3.546 [1.347-13.951] vs postprocedural 0.001 [0-0.689]; P = .001) and a 96.3% decrease in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) shocks (preprocedural 1.145 [0.118-4.467] vs postprocedural 0.042 [0-0.111] per year; P = .017) were observed. In the subgroup of patients who experienced VT recurrences, VT burden decreased by 69.2% (median VT episodes per year: preprocedural 2.876 [1.105-8.801] vs postprocedural 0.882 [0.505-2.283]; P <.001). Multivariable analysis showed persistence of late potentials (67% vs 19%; hazard ratio 3.18 [2.18-6.65]; P <.001) and lower left ventricular ejection fraction (EF) (30 [25-40] vs 39 [30-50]; P = .022) as predictors of VT recurrence.

Conclusion: Despite a high recurrence rate during long-term follow-up, substrate-based VT ablation is related to a large reduction in VT burden and a decrease in ICD therapies. Lower EF and persistence of late potentials are predictors of recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.02.016DOI Listing
June 2021

Reduction in new cardiac electronic device implantations in Catalonia during COVID-19.

Europace 2021 03;23(3):456-463

Arrhythmia Section, Cardiology Department, Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Aims: During the COVID-19 pandemic, concern regarding its effect on the management of non-communicable diseases has been raised. However, there are no data on the impact on cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIED) implantation rates. We aimed to determine the impact of SARS-CoV2 on the monthly incidence rates and type of pacemaker (PM) and implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) implantations in Catalonia before and after the declaration of the state of alarm in Spain on 14 March 2020.

Methods And Results: Data on new CIED implantations for 2017-20 were prospectively collected by nine hospitals in Catalonia. A mixed model with random intercepts corrected for time was used to estimate the change in monthly CIED implantations. Compared to the pre-COVID-19 period, an absolute decrease of 56.5% was observed (54.7% in PM and 63.7% in ICD) in CIED implantation rates. Total CIED implantations for 2017-19 and January and February 2020 was 250/month (>195 PM and >55 ICD), decreasing to 207 (161 PM and 46 ICD) in March and 131 (108 PM and 23 ICD) in April 2020. In April 2020, there was a significant fall of 185.25 CIED implantations compared to 2018 [95% confidence interval (CI) 129.6-240.9; P < 0.001] and of 188 CIED compared to 2019 (95% CI 132.3-243.7; P < 0.001). No significant differences in the type of PM or ICD were observed, nor in the indication for primary or secondary prevention.

Conclusions: During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial decrease in CIED implantations was observed in Catalonia. Our findings call for measures to avoid long-term social impact.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7928966PMC
March 2021

Optimized single-point left ventricular pacing leads to improved resynchronization compared with multipoint pacing.

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2021 03 16;44(3):519-527. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Institut Clínic Cardio-Vascular, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: Multipoint pacing (MPP) in cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) activates the left ventricle from two locations, thereby shortening the QRS duration and enabling better resynchronization; however, compared with conventional CRT, MPP reduces battery longevity. On the other hand, electrocardiogram-based optimization using the fusion-optimized intervals (FOI) method achieves more significant reverse remodeling than nominal CRT programming. Our study aimed to determine whether MPP could attain better resynchronization than single-point pacing (SPP) optimized by FOI.

Methods: This prospective study included 32 consecutive patients who successfully received CRT devices with MPP capabilities. After implantation, the QRS duration was measured during intrinsic rhythm and with three pacing configurations: MPP, SPP-FOI, and MPP-FOI. In 14 patients, biventricular activation times (by electrocardiographic imaging, ECGI) were obtained during intrinsic rhythm and for each pacing configuration to validate the findings. Device battery longevity was estimated at the 45-day follow-up.

Results: The SPP-FOI method achieved greater QRS shortening than MPP (-56 ± 16 vs. -42 ± 17 ms, p < .001). Adding MPP to the best FOI programming did not result in further shortening (MPP-FOI: -58 ± 14 ms, p = .69). Although biventricular activation times did not differ significantly among the three pacing configurations, only the two FOI configurations achieved significant shortening compared with intrinsic rhythm. The estimated battery longevity was longer with SPP than with MPP (8.1 ± 2.3 vs. 6.3 ± 2.0 years, p = .03).

Conclusions: SPP optimized by FOI resulted in better resynchronization and longer battery duration than MPP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pace.14185DOI Listing
March 2021

Long-term prognosis of women with Brugada syndrome and electrophysiological study.

Heart Rhythm 2021 May 24;18(5):664-671. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Cardiology Department, Institut du Thorax, Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain.

Background: A male predominance in Brugada syndrome (BrS) has been widely reported, but scarce information on female patients with BrS is available.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics and long-term prognosis of women with BrS.

Methods: A multicenter retrospective study of patients diagnosed with BrS and previous electrophysiological study (EPS) was performed.

Results: Among 770 patients, 177 (23%) were female. At presentation, 150 (84.7%) were asymptomatic. Females presented less frequently with a type 1 electrocardiographic pattern (30.5% vs 55.0%; P <.001), had a higher rate of family history of sudden cardiac death (49.7% vs 29.8%; P <.001), and had less sustained ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) on EPS (8.5% vs 15.1%; P = .009). Genetic testing was performed in 79 females (45% of the sample) and was positive in 34 (19%). An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator was inserted in 48 females (27.1%). During mean (± SD) follow-up of 122.17 ± 57.28 months, 5 females (2.8%) experienced a cardiovascular event compared to 42 males (7.1%; P = .04). On multivariable analysis, a positive genetic test (18.71; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.82-192.53; P = .01) and atrial fibrillation (odds ratio 21.12; 95% CI 1.27-350.85; P = .03) were predictive of arrhythmic events, whereas VAs on EPS (neither with 1 or 2 extrastimuli nor 3 extrastimuli) were not.

Conclusion: Women with BrS represent a minor fraction among patients with BrS, and although their rate of events is low, they do not constitute a risk-free group. Neither clinical risk factors nor EPS predicts future arrhythmic events. Only atrial fibrillation and positive genetic test were identified as risk factors for future arrhythmic events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.12.020DOI Listing
May 2021

Accuracy of left atrial fibrosis detection with cardiac magnetic resonance: correlation of late gadolinium enhancement with endocardial voltage and conduction velocity.

Europace 2021 Mar;23(3):380-388

Unitat de Fibril.lació Auricular (UFA), Institut Clínic Cardiovascular (ICCV), Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, C/Villarroel 170, 08036 Catalonia, Spain.

Aims: Myocardial fibrosis is a hallmark of atrial fibrillation (AF) and its characterization could be used to guide ablation procedures. Late gadolinium enhanced-magnetic resonance imaging (LGE-MRI) detects areas of atrial fibrosis. However, its accuracy remains controversial. We aimed to analyse the accuracy of LGE-MRI to identify left atrial (LA) arrhythmogenic substrate by analysing voltage and conduction velocity at the areas of LGE.

Methods And Results: Late gadolinium enhanced-magnetic resonance imaging was performed before ablation in 16 patients. Atrial wall intensity was normalized to blood pool and classified as healthy, interstitial fibrosis, and dense scar tissue depending of the resulting image intensity ratio. Bipolar voltage and local conduction velocity were measured in LA with high-density electroanatomic maps recorded in sinus rhythm and subsequently projected into the LGE-MRI. A semi-automatic, point-by-point correlation was made between LGE-MRI and electroanatomical mapping. Mean bipolar voltage and local velocity progressively decreased from healthy to interstitial fibrosis to scar. There was a significant negative correlation between LGE with voltage (r = -0.39, P < 0.001) and conduction velocity (r = -0.25, P < 0.001). In patients showing dilated atria (LA diameter ≥45 mm) the conduction velocity predictive capacity of LGE-MRI was weaker (r = -0.40 ± 0.09 vs. -0.20 ± 0.13, P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Areas with higher LGE show lower voltage and slower conduction in sinus rhythm. The enhancement intensity correlates with bipolar voltage and conduction velocity in a point-by-point analysis. The performance of LGE-MRI in assessing local velocity might be reduced in patients with dilated atria (LA diameter ≥45).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa313DOI Listing
March 2021

Impact of centre volume on atrial fibrillation ablation outcomes in Europe: a report from the ESC EHRA EORP Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Long-Term (AFA LT) Registry.

Europace 2021 01;23(1):49-58

Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Institut, Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Aims: The aim of the study was to investigate differences in clinical outcomes and complication rates among European atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation centres related to the volume of AF ablations performed.

Methods And Results: Data for this analysis were extracted from the ESC EHRA EORP European AF Ablation Long-Term Study Registry. Based on 33rd and 67th percentiles of number of AF ablations performed, the participating centres were classified into high volume (HV) (≥ 180 procedures/year), medium volume (MV) (<180 and ≥74/year), and low volume (LV) (<74/year). A total of 91 centres in 26 European countries enrolled in 3368 patients. There was a significantly higher reporting of cardiovascular complications and stroke incidence in LV centres compared with HV and MV (P = 0.039 and 0.008, respectively) and a lower success rate after AF ablation (55.3% in HV vs. 57.2% in LV vs. 67.4% in MV centres, P < 0.001), despite lower CHA2DS2-VASc score of patients, enrolled in LVs and less complex ablation techniques used. Adjustments of confounding factors (including type of AF ablation) led to elimination of these differences.

Conclusion: Low-volume centres tended to present slightly higher cardiovascular complications' and stroke incidence and a lower unadjusted success rate after AF ablation, despite the fact that ablation procedures and patients were of lower risk compared with MV and HV centres. On the other hand, adjusted overall complication and recurrence rates were non-significantly different among different volume centres, a fact reflecting the heterogeneity of patient and procedural profiles, and a counterbalance between expertise and risk level among participating centres.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa236DOI Listing
January 2021

Magnetic resonance-guided re-ablation for atrial fibrillation is associated with a lower recurrence rate: a case-control study.

Europace 2020 12;22(12):1805-1811

Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Clinical Institute, UFA (Unitat de Fibril.laciò Auricular de l'Hospital Clìnic), Hospital Clìnic, Universitat de Barcelona, C/Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

Aims: Our aim was to analyse whether using delayed enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (DE-CMR) to localize veno-atrial gaps in atrial fibrillation (AF) redo ablation procedures improves outcomes during follow-up.

Methods And Results: We conducted a case-control study with 35 consecutive patients undergoing a DE-CMR-guided Repeat-pulmonary vein isolation (Re-PVI) procedure. Those with more extensive ablations (e.g. roof lines, box) were excluded. Patients were matched for age, sex, AF pattern, and left atrial dimension with 35 patients who had undergone a conventional Re-PVI procedure guided with a three dimensional (3D)-navigation system. Procedural characteristics were recorded, and patients were followed for 24 months in a specialized outpatient clinic. The primary endpoint was freedom from recurrent AF, atrial tachycardia, or flutter. The duration of CMR-guided procedures was shorter compared to the conventional group (161 ± 52 vs. 195 ± 72 min, respectively, P = 0.049), with no significant differences in fluoroscopy or total radiofrequency time. At the 2-year follow-up, more patients in the DE-CMR-guided group remained free from recurrences compared with the conventional group (70% vs. 39%, respectively, P = 0.007). In univariate Cox-regression analyses, AF pattern [persistent AF, hazard ratio (HR) 2.66 (1.27-5.46), P = 0.006] and the use of DE-CMR [HR 0.36 (0.17-0.79), P = 0.009] predicted recurrences during follow-up; both factors remained independent predictors in multivariate analyses.

Conclusion: The substrate characterization provided by DE-CMR facilitates the identification of anatomical veno-atrial gaps and associates with shorter procedures and better clinical outcomes in repeated AF ablation procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa252DOI Listing
December 2020

Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Fibrosis Ablation for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation: The ALICIA Trial.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2020 11 8;13(11):e008707. Epub 2020 Oct 8.

CIBERCV, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid (F.B., A.B.-G., L.M.).

Background: Myocardial fibrosis is key for atrial fibrillation maintenance. We aimed to test the efficacy of ablating cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR)-detected atrial fibrosis plus pulmonary vein isolation (PVI).

Methods: This was an open-label, parallel-group, randomized, controlled trial. Patients with symptomatic drug-refractory atrial fibrillation (paroxysmal and persistent) undergoing first or repeat ablation were randomized in a 1:1 basis to receive PVI plus CMR-guided fibrosis ablation (CMR group) or PVI alone (PVI-alone group). The primary end point was the rate of recurrence (>30 seconds) at 12 months of follow-up using a 12-lead ECG and Holter monitoring at 3, 6, and 12 months. The analysis was conducted by intention-to-treat.

Results: In total, 155 patients (71% male, age 59±10, CHADS-VASc 1.3±1.1, 54% paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) were allocated to the PVI-alone group (N=76) or CMR group (N=79). First ablation was performed in 80% and 71% of patients in the PVI-alone and CMR groups, respectively. The mean atrial fibrosis burden was 12% (only ≈50% of patients had fibrosis outside the pulmonary vein area). One hundred percent and 99% of patients received the assigned intervention in the PVI-alone and CMR group, respectively. The primary outcome was achieved in 21 patients (27.6%) in the PVI-alone group and 22 patients (27.8%) in the CMR group (odds ratio: 1.01 [95% CI, 0.50-2.04]; =0.976). There were no differences in the rate of adverse events (3 in the CMR group and 2 in the PVI-alone group; =0.68).

Conclusions: A pragmatic ablation approach targeting CMR-detected atrial fibrosis plus PVI was not more effective than PVI alone in an unselected population undergoing atrial fibrillation ablation with low fibrosis burden. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02698631.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.120.008707DOI Listing
November 2020

Update on Genetic Basis of Brugada Syndrome: Monogenic, Polygenic or Oligogenic?

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Sep 28;21(19). Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Cardiovascular Genetics Centre, University of Girona-IDIBGI, 17190 Girona, Spain.

Brugada syndrome is a rare inherited arrhythmogenic disease leading to ventricular fibrillation and high risk of sudden death. In 1998, this syndrome was linked with a genetic variant with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. To date, rare variants identified in more than 40 genes have been potentially associated with this disease. Variants in regulatory regions, combinations of common variants and other genetic alterations are also proposed as potential origins of Brugada syndrome, suggesting a polygenic or oligogenic inheritance pattern. However, most of these genetic alterations remain of questionable causality; indeed, rare pathogenic variants in the gene are the only established cause of Brugada syndrome. Comprehensive analysis of all reported genetic alterations identified the origin of disease in no more than 40% of diagnosed cases. Therefore, identifying the cause of this rare arrhythmogenic disease in the many families without a genetic diagnosis is a major current challenge in Brugada syndrome. Additional challenges are interpretation/classification of variants and translation of genetic data into clinical practice. Further studies focused on unraveling the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the disease are needed. Here we provide an update on the genetic basis of Brugada syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7582739PMC
September 2020

Enhancing rare variant interpretation in inherited arrhythmias through quantitative analysis of consortium disease cohorts and population controls.

Genet Med 2021 01 7;23(1):47-58. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Member of the European Reference Network for rare, low prevalence and/or complex diseases of the heart: ERN GUARD-Heart, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Purpose: Stringent variant interpretation guidelines can lead to high rates of variants of uncertain significance (VUS) for genetically heterogeneous disease like long QT syndrome (LQTS) and Brugada syndrome (BrS). Quantitative and disease-specific customization of American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics/Association for Molecular Pathology (ACMG/AMP) guidelines can address this false negative rate.

Methods: We compared rare variant frequencies from 1847 LQTS (KCNQ1/KCNH2/SCN5A) and 3335 BrS (SCN5A) cases from the International LQTS/BrS Genetics Consortia to population-specific gnomAD data and developed disease-specific criteria for ACMG/AMP evidence classes-rarity (PM2/BS1 rules) and case enrichment of individual (PS4) and domain-specific (PM1) variants.

Results: Rare SCN5A variant prevalence differed between European (20.8%) and Japanese (8.9%) BrS patients (p = 5.7 × 10) and diagnosis with spontaneous (28.7%) versus induced (15.8%) Brugada type 1 electrocardiogram (ECG) (p = 1.3 × 10). Ion channel transmembrane regions and specific N-terminus (KCNH2) and C-terminus (KCNQ1/KCNH2) domains were characterized by high enrichment of case variants and >95% probability of pathogenicity. Applying the customized rules, 17.4% of European BrS and 74.8% of European LQTS cases had (likely) pathogenic variants, compared with estimated diagnostic yields (case excess over gnomAD) of 19.2%/82.1%, reducing VUS prevalence to close to background rare variant frequency.

Conclusion: Large case-control data sets enable quantitative implementation of ACMG/AMP guidelines and increased sensitivity for inherited arrhythmia genetic testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-00946-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7790744PMC
January 2021

Quality indicators for the care and outcomes of adults with atrial fibrillation.

Europace 2021 Apr;23(4):494-495

First Department of Cardiology and Angiology, Silesian Centre for Heart Disease, Curie-Sklodowskiej Str 9, 41-800 Zabrze, Poland.

Aims: To develop quality indicators (QIs) that may be used to evaluate the quality of care and outcomes for adults with atrial fibrillation (AF).

Methods And Results: We followed the ESC methodology for QI development. This methodology involved (i) the identification of the domains of AF care for the diagnosis and management of AF (by a group of experts including members of the ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines Task Force for AF); (ii) the construction of candidate QIs (including a systematic review of the literature); and (iii) the selection of the final set of QIs (using a modified Delphi method). Six domains of care for the diagnosis and management of AF were identified: (i) Patient assessment (baseline and follow-up), (ii) Anticoagulation therapy, (iii) Rate control strategy, (iv) Rhythm control strategy, (v) Risk factor management, and (vi) Outcomes measures, including patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). In total, 17 main and 17 secondary QIs, which covered all six domains of care for the diagnosis and management of AF, were selected. The outcome domain included measures on the consequences and treatment of AF, as well as PROMs.

Conclusion: This document defines six domains of AF care (patient assessment, anticoagulation, rate control, rhythm control, risk factor management, and outcomes), and provides 17 main and 17 secondary QIs for the diagnosis and management of AF. It is anticipated that implementation of these QIs will improve the quality of AF care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa253DOI Listing
April 2021

HRS/EHRA/APHRS/LAHRS/ACC/AHA worldwide practice update for telehealth and arrhythmia monitoring during and after a pandemic.

J Arrhythm 2020 Jun 25. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Society Washington US.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), started in the city of Wuhan late in 2019. Within a few months, the disease spread toward all parts of the world and was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The current health care dilemma worldwide is how to sustain the capacity for quality services not only for those suffering from COVID-19 but also for non-COVID-19 patients, all while protecting physicians, nurses, and other allied health care workers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/joa3.12389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7361598PMC
June 2020

Electromechanical delay by speckle-tracking echocardiography: A novel tool to distinguish between Brugada syndrome and isolated right bundle branch block.

Int J Cardiol 2020 Dec 7;320:161-167. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Department of Medical Biotechnologies, Division of Cardiology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Background: The electrocardiographic (ECG) definition of Brugada syndrome (BS) can be challenging because benign ECG abnormalities, such as right bundle branch block (RBBB), may mimic pathological ECG characteristics of BrS. However, although myocardial delay and deformation can be quantified by advanced imaging, it has not yet been used to differentiate between BrS and RBBB. The aim of this study was to characterize the electro-mechanical behavior of the heart of patients with type-1 BrS and isolated complete RBBB in order to differentiate these conditions.

Methods: In this two-center study, 66 subjects were analyzed by standard and speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE): 22 type-1 BrS, 24 isolated complete RBBB, and 20 healthy subjects. The participants were not treated by any drug potentially influencing myocardial conduction.

Results: Standard echocardiographic parameters did not differ among the groups. The greatest right ventricular (RV) mechanical dispersion was found in RBBB. Mean absolute deviations (MADs) of time-to-peak longitudinal strain calculated for each left ventricular (LV) region were greater in patients with RBBB as compared to BrS (p < .01). No differences were found between BrS and controls (p = .36). MADs in the basal segments in RBBB group were greater than MADs found in BrS group and controls (37.3 ms vs. 26.7 ms and 29.0 ms, respectively, p < .05). The greatest differences were found in the antero-septal, anterior, lateral, and infero-septal basal segments.

Conclusions: Advanced echocardiographic techniques may help to differentiate between BrS and RBBB. Indeed, STE allows to identify an electro-mechanical conduction delay in RBBB patients that is not found in patients affected by type-1 BrS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.06.029DOI Listing
December 2020

Recommendations for participation in leisure-time physical activity and competitive sports of patients with arrhythmias and potentially arrhythmogenic conditions. Part 2: ventricular arrhythmias, channelopathies, and implantable defibrillators.

Europace 2021 01;23(1):147-148

Department of Cardiology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

This paper belongs to a series of recommendation documents for participation in leisure-time physical activity and competitive sports by the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC). Together with an accompanying paper on supraventricular arrhythmias, this second text deals specifically with those participants in whom some form of ventricular rhythm disorder is documented, who are diagnosed with an inherited arrhythmogenic condition, and/or who have an implanted pacemaker or cardioverter defibrillator. A companion text on recommendations in athletes with supraventricular arrhythmias is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Since both texts focus on arrhythmias, they are the result of a collaboration between EAPC and the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA). The documents provide a framework for evaluating eligibility to perform sports, based on three elements, i.e. the prognostic risk of the arrhythmias when performing sports, the symptomatic impact of arrhythmias while performing sports, and the potential progression of underlying structural problems as the result of sports.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa106DOI Listing
January 2021

Genetic Variants as Sudden-Death Risk Markers in Inherited Arrhythmogenic Syndromes: Personalized Genetic Interpretation.

J Clin Med 2020 Jun 15;9(6). Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Cardiovascular Genetics Center, University of Girona-IDIBGI, 17190 Girona, Spain.

Inherited arrhythmogenic syndromes are the primary cause of unexpected lethal cardiac episodes in young people. It is possible that the first sign of the condition may be sudden death. Inherited arrhythmogenic syndromes are caused by genetic defects that may be analyzed using different technical approaches. A genetic alteration may be used as a marker of risk for families who carry the genetic alterations. Therefore, the early identification of the responsible genetic defect may help the adoption of preventive therapeutic measures focused on reducing the risk of lethal arrhythmias. Here, we describe the use of massive sequencing technologies and the interpretation of genetic analyses in inherited arrhythmogenic syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7356862PMC
June 2020

Cohort profile: the ESC EURObservational Research Programme Atrial Fibrillation III (AF III) Registry.

Eur Heart J Qual Care Clin Outcomes 2021 May;7(3):229-237

Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Aims: The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) EURObservational Research Programme (EORP)-Atrial Fibrillation (AF) III Registry aims to identify contemporary patterns in AF management in clinical practice, assess their compliance with the 2016 ESC AF Guidelines, identify major gaps in guideline implementation, characterize the clinical practice settings associated with good vs. poor guideline implementation and assess and compare the 1-year outcome of guideline-adherent vs. guideline non-adherent management strategies.

Methods And Results: Consecutive adult AF patients (n = 8306) were enrolled between 1 July 2018 and 15 July 2019, and individual patient data were prospectively collected across 192 centres and 31 participating countries during the 3-month enrolment period per centre. The Registry collected baseline and 1-year follow-up data in the eight main domains: patient demographic/enrolment setting, AF diagnosis/characterization, diagnostic assessment, stroke prevention treatments, arrhythmia-directed therapies, integrated AF management, major outcomes (death, non-fatal stroke or systemic embolic event, and non-fatal bleeding event), and the quality of life questionnaire.

Conclusion: The EORP-AF III Registry is an international, prospective registry of care and outcomes of patients treated for AF, which will provide insights into the contemporary patterns in AF management, ESC AF Guidelines implementation in routine practice and barriers to optimal management of this highly prevalent arrhythmia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjqcco/qcaa050DOI Listing
May 2021
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