Publications by authors named "Kevin Vernooy"

121 Publications

Development and implementation of a cardiac resynchronisation therapy care pathway: improved process and reduced resource use.

BMJ Open Qual 2021 Feb;10(1)

Cardiology, Maastricht Universitair Medisch Centrum+, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Background: Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) requires intensive, complex and multidisciplinary care to maximize the clinical benefit. In current practice this is typically a task for highly specialised physicians. We report on a novel multidisciplinary, standardised CRT care pathway (CRT-CPW). Experienced clinicians developed a CPW with simple and broadly applicable aids based on clinical evidence and identified shortcomings in the current CRT care. The resulting CPW was implemented at the Maastricht University Medical Center, aiming at a transfer from heterogeneous physician-led care to standardized nurse-led care.

Methods: Two CRT patient cohorts were compared in this analysis. The benchmarked usual care cohort (2012-2014, 122 patients) was compared with the CRT-CPW cohort (2015-2017, 115 patients). The primary outcomes were process-related: number of physician consultations, nurse consultations, length of stay (LOS) at implantation and total hospitalisation days during 1-year follow-up, and referral-to-treatment time. Clinical outcomes were assessed to adress non-inferiority of quality of care.

Results: Patients in the CRT-CPW cohort consulted nurses and technicians significantly more often than patients in the usual care cohort (2.4±1.5 vs 1.7±2.0, p<0.0001 and 4.3±2.5 vs 3.7±1.5, p=0.063, respectively). Patients with CRT-CPW consulted physicians significantly less often (1.7±1.4 vs 2.6±2.1, p<0.001). Referral to treatment time was significantly reduced in the CRT-CPW group (23.6±18.4 vs 37.0±26.3 days, p=0.002). LOS at implantation and total hospitalisation days were significantly reduced in the CRT-CPW group (1.1±1.2 vs 1.5±0.7 days, p<0.0001 and 2.4±4.8 vs 4.8±9.3, p<0.0001, respectively). Clinical outcome analyses showed no significant difference in 12-month all-cause mortality and heart failure hospitalisations.

Conclusion: The introduction of a novel CRT-CPW resulted in a successful transition of physician-led to nurse-led care, with a significantly reduced resource use and equal clinical outcomes. Future evaluations will focus on impact on outcomes versus costs, to evaluate cost-effectiveness of the CRT-CPW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjoq-2020-001072DOI Listing
February 2021

Optimizing lead placement for pacing in dyssynchronous heart failure: the patient in the lead.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Feb 15. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) greatly reduces morbidity and mortality in patients with dyssynchronous heart failure. However, despite tremendous effort, response has been variable and can be further improved. Although optimizing left ventricular lead placement (LVLP) is arguably the cornerstone of CRT, the procedure of LVLP using the transvenous approach has remained largely unchanged for over two decades. Improvements have been developed using scar location and electrical and/or mechanical mapping. Moreover, recent interest in conduction system pacing as an alternative to biventricular pacing emerged. Conduction system pacing is promising, but may not be suitable for all patients with dyssynchronous heart failure. This review underscores the importance of a patient-tailored approach and discusses the potential applications of both conduction system pacing and targeted biventricular CRT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.02.011DOI Listing
February 2021

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

Optimized Implementation of cardiac resynchronization therapy - a call for action for referral and optimization of care.

Europace 2021 Feb 5. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

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

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is one of the most effective therapies for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and leads to improved quality of life, reductions in heartfailure hospitalization rates and reduces all-cause mortality. Nevertheless, up to two-thirds ofeligible patients are not referred for CRT. Furthermore, post implantation follow-up is oftenfragmented and suboptimal, hampering the potential maximal treatment effect. This jointposition statement from three ESC Associations, HFA, EHRA and EACVI focuses onoptimized implementation of CRT. We offer theoretical and practical strategies to achievemore comprehensive CRT referral and post-procedural care by focusing on four actionabledomains; (I) overcoming CRT under-utilization, (II) better understanding of pre-implantcharacteristics, (III) abandoning the term 'non-response' and replacing this by the concept ofdisease modification, and (IV) implementing a dedicated post-implant CRT care pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab035DOI Listing
February 2021

Reduction in the QRS area after cardiac resynchronization therapy is associated with survival and echocardiographic response.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2021 Jan 21. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Recent studies have shown that the baseline QRS area is associated with the clinical response after cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). In this study, we investigated the association of QRS area reduction (∆QRS area) after CRT with the outcome. We hypothesize that a larger ∆QRS area is associated with a better survival and echocardiographic response.

Methods And Results: Electrocardiograms (ECG) obtained before and 2-12 months after CRT from 1299 patients in a multi-center CRT-registry were analyzed. The QRS area was calculated from vectorcardiograms that were synthesized from 12-lead ECGs. The primary endpoint was a combination of all-cause mortality, heart transplantation, and left ventricular (LV) assist device implantation. The secondary endpoint was the echocardiographic response, defined as LV end-systolic volume reduction ≥ of 15%. Patients with ∆QRS area above the optimal cut-off value (62 µVs) had a lower risk of reaching the primary endpoint (hazard ratio: 0.43; confidence interval [CI] 0.33-0.56, p < .001), and a higher chance of echocardiographic response (odds ratio [OR] 3.3;CI 2.4-4.6, p < .0001). In multivariable analysis, ∆QRS area was independently associated with both endpoints. In patients with baseline QRS area ≥109 µVs, survival, and echocardiographic response were better when the ∆QRS area was ≥62 µVs (p < .0001). Logistic regression showed that in patients with baseline QRS area ≥109 µVs, ∆QRS area was the only significant predictor of survival (OR: 0.981; CI: 0.967-0.994, p = .006).

Conclusion: ∆QRS area is an independent determinant of CRT response, especially in patients with a large baseline QRS area. Failure to achieve a large QRS area reduction with CRT is associated with a poor clinical outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14910DOI Listing
January 2021

Frequency and Determinants of Spontaneous Conversion to Sinus Rhythm in Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department with Recent-onset Atrial Fibrillation: A Systematic Review.

Arrhythm Electrophysiol Rev 2020 Dec;9(4):195-201

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Centre and Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

The exact frequency and clinical determinants of spontaneous conversion (SCV) in patients with symptomatic recent-onset AF are unclear. The aim of this systematic review is to provide an overview of the frequency and determinants of SCV of AF in patients presenting at the emergency department. A comprehensive literature search for studies about SCV in patients presenting to the emergency department with AF resulted in 25 articles - 12 randomised controlled trials and 13 observational studies. SCV rates range between 9-83% and determinants of SCV also varied between studies. The most important determinants of SCV included short duration of AF (<24 or <48 hours), low number of episodes, normal atrial dimensions and absence of previous heart disease. The large variation in SCV rate and determinants of SCV was related to differences in duration of the observation period, inclusion and exclusion criteria and in variables used in the prediction models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15420/aer.2020.34DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7788393PMC
December 2020

Segment length in cine (SLICE) strain analysis: a practical approach to estimate potential benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy.

J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 2021 Jan 11;23(1). Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Department of Cardiology, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences (ACS), Amsterdam University Medical Centers (AUMC), Location VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1118, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Segment length in cine (SLICE) strain analysis on standard cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) cine images was recently validated against gold standard myocardial tagging. The present study aims to explore predictive value of SLICE for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) response.

Methods And Results: Fifty-seven patients with heart failure and left bundle branch block (LBBB) were prospectively enrolled in this multi-center study and underwent CMR examination before CRT implantation. Circumferential strains of the septal and lateral wall were measured by SLICE on short-axis cine images. In addition, timing and strain pattern parameters were assessed. After twelve months, CRT response was quantified by the echocardiographic change in left ventricular (LV) end-systolic volume (LVESV). In contrast to timing parameters, strain pattern parameters being systolic rebound stretch of the septum (SRS), systolic stretch index (SSI), and internal stretch factor (ISF) all correlated significantly with LVESV change (R - 0.56; R - 0.53; and R - 0.58, respectively). Of all strain parameters, end-systolic septal strain (ESS) showed strongest correlation with LVESV change (R - 0.63). Multivariable analysis showed ESS to be independently related to LVESV change together with age and QRS.

Conclusion: The practicable SLICE strain technique may help the clinician to estimate potential benefit from CRT by analyzing standard CMR cine images without the need for commercial software. Of all strain parameters, end-systolic septal strain (ESS) demonstrates the strongest correlation with reverse remodeling after CRT. This parameter may be of special interest in patients with non-strict LBBB morphology for whom CRT benefit is doubted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12968-020-00701-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7798189PMC
January 2021

Long-term intermittent versus short continuous heart rhythm monitoring for the detection of atrial fibrillation recurrences after catheter ablation.

Int J Cardiol 2021 Jan 4. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Center and Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Department of Cardiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: The utility of long-term intermittent heart rhythm monitoring after atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation remains unclear. Therefore, we compared the efficacy and usability of long-term intermittent (AliveCor Kardia® (ACK)) versus short continuous (Holter) heart rhythm monitoring for the detection of AF recurrences after AF ablation and evaluated ACK accuracy to detect AF.

Methods: Patients were provided with Holter (for ≥24 h) simultaneously with an ACK (4 weeks) used three times a day and in case of symptoms. The primary endpoint was the difference in proportion of patients diagnosed with recurrent AF by ACK as compared to Holter monitoring. Secondary endpoints were the usability (System Usability Scale and a four-item questionnaire) of ACK and Holter monitoring; and the accuracy of the ACK algorithm for AF detection.

Results: Out of 126 post-ablation patients, 115 (91.3%; 35 females, median age 64.0 [58.0-68.0] years) transmitted overall 7838 ACK ECG recordings. ACK and Holter monitoring detected 29 (25.2%) and 17 (14.8%) patients with AF recurrences, respectively (p < 0.001). More than 2 weeks of ACK monitoring did not have additional diagnostic yield for detection of AF recurrences. Patients graded ACK higher than Holter monitoring and found ACK more convenient in daily usage than Holter (p < 0.001). Sensitivity and specificity of ACK for AF detection were 95.3% and 97.5%, respectively.

Conclusions: Long-term intermittent monitoring by ACK more effectively detects AF recurrences after AF ablation and has a higher patients' usability than short continuous Holter monitoring. ACK showed a high accuracy to detect AF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.12.077DOI Listing
January 2021

New Biparietal Bipolar Catheter Prototype for Hybrid Atrial Fibrillation Ablation.

Innovations (Phila) 2021 Jan 7:1556984520981025. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

118066 Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht - CARIM, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Objective: To evaluate the size and depth of linear lesions by in vitro testing with a custom-made radio frequency biparietal bipolar ablation catheter in a single-stage setting.

Methods: A custom-made catheter was created to generate linear lesions around the left atrium and pulmonary veins of an ex vivo pig. Two frames were made, 1 epicardial and 1 endocardial. A continuous copper braid electrode and an alignment system consisting of 2 parallel rows of neodymium magnets were embedded in a flexible plastic support. After 24 hours of formalin conservation, samples of the left atrium of a freshly slaughtered pig were sliced in a cryotome, thus obtaining a sequence of 100-µm thick layers extending from the endocardial to the epicardial side. After being digitized through a scanner, these layers were evaluated using morphometric computer software. For each slice, we evaluated the maximum length of the lesions, the maximum epicardial length, the maximum endocardial length, the total area of the lesion, and the total volume.

Results: Forty transmural lesions from 40 specimens were obtained. The results were the following (the number in parenthesis is the interquartile range in mm): lesion maximum length () was 7.297 mm (0.006), epicardial maximum length () was 7.291 mm (0.014), and endocardial maximum length was 7.291 mm (0.018). The total area and total volume were 1018.50 ± 36.51 mm and 101.85 ± 3.65 mm, respectively.

Conclusions: Our prototype showed very promising results. The next step will be to enhance the design for clinical application.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1556984520981025DOI Listing
January 2021

Heart Size Corrected Electrical Dyssynchrony and Its Impact on Sex-Specific Response to Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2021 Jan 9;14(1):e008452. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Cardiology (O.A.E.S., M.J.C., M.M.), University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Background: Women are less likely to receive cardiac resynchronization therapy, yet, they are more responsive to the therapy and respond at shorter QRS duration. The present study hypothesized that a relatively larger left ventricular (LV) electrical dyssynchrony in smaller hearts contributes to the better cardiac resynchronization therapy response in women. For this, the vectorcardiography-derived QRS area is used, since it allows for a more detailed quantification of electrical dyssynchrony compared with conventional electrocardiographic markers.

Methods: Data from a multicenter registry of 725 cardiac resynchronization therapy patients (median follow-up, 4.2 years [interquartile range, 2.7-6.1]) were analyzed. Baseline electrical dyssynchrony was evaluated using the QRS area and the corrected QRS area for heart size using the LV end-diastolic volume (QRSarea/LVEDV). Impact of the QRSarea/LVEDV ratio on the association between sex and LV reverse remodeling (LV end-systolic volume change) and sex and the composite outcome of all-cause mortality, LV assist device implantation, or heart transplantation was assessed.

Results: At baseline, women (n=228) displayed larger electrical dyssynchrony than men (QRS area, 132±55 versus 123±58 μVs; =0.043), which was even more pronounced for the QRSarea/LVEDV ratio (0.76±0.46 versus 0.57±0.34 μVs/mL; <0.001). After multivariable analyses, female sex was associated with LV end-systolic volume change (β=0.12; =0.003) and a lower occurrence of the composite outcome (hazard ratio, 0.59 [0.42-0.85]; =0.004). A part of the female advantage regarding reverse remodeling was attributed to the larger QRSarea/LVEDV ratio in women (25-fold change in β from 0.12 to 0.09). The larger QRSarea/LVEDV ratio did not contribute to the better survival observed in women. In both volumetric responders and nonresponders, female sex remained strongly associated with a lower risk of the composite outcome (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.59 [0.36-0.97]; =0.036; and 0.55 [0.33-0.90]; =0.018, respectively).

Conclusions: Greater electrical dyssynchrony in smaller hearts contributes, in part, to more reverse remodeling observed in women after cardiac resynchronization therapy, but this does not explain their better long-term outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.120.008452DOI Listing
January 2021

Do we need to pace the bundle? Editorial comment on: Nonselective versus selective His bundle pacing: An acute intrapatient speckle tracking strain echocardiographic study by Bednarek et al.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2021 Jan 16;32(1):126-128. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

Department of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14832DOI Listing
January 2021

The importance of electrocardiographic follow-up in heart failure.

Eur J Heart Fail 2020 12 22;22(12):2380-2382. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2054DOI Listing
December 2020

Electrocardiographic predictors of infrahissian conduction disturbances in myotonic dystrophy type 1.

Europace 2021 Feb;23(2):298-304

Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University Medical Center+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Aims: The aim of this study was to determine electrocardiographic (ECG) criteria predicting abnormal infrahissian conduction in patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), as these criteria could be used to identify the need for an electrophysiological study (EPS).

Methods And Results: A retrospective multicentre study was conducted including DM1-affected individuals who underwent EPS between 2007 and 2018. For each individual, EPS indication, His-ventricle (HV) interval, resting ECG parameters prior to EPS, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), neurological status, and DM1 DNA analysis results were collected. Electrocardiographic parameters of patients with a normal HV interval were compared with ECG parameters of patients with a prolonged HV interval. Logistic regression was performed to determine predictors for a prolonged HV interval of ≥70 ms on EPS and diagnostic accuracy of ECG parameters was ascertained. Among 100 DM1-affected individuals undergoing EPS, 47 had a prolonged HV interval. The sole presence of a PR interval >200 ms [odds ratio (OR) 8.45, confidence interval (CI) 2.64-27.04] or a QRS complex >120 ms (OR 9.91, CI 3.53-27.80) on ECG were independent predictors of a prolonged HV interval. The combination of both parameters had a positive predictive value of 78% for delayed infrahissian conduction on EPS. His-ventricle interval was independent of DM1 genetic mutation size, neuromuscular status, and LVEF.

Conclusion: The combination of a prolonged PR interval and widened QRS complex on ECG accurately predicts abnormal infrahissian conduction on EPS in patients with DM1. These ECG parameters could be used as a screening tool to determine the need for referral to a specialized multidisciplinary neuromuscular team with EPS capacity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa256DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7868883PMC
February 2021

Optimized implementation of cardiac resynchronization therapy: a call for action for referral and optimization of care: A joint position statement from the Heart Failure Association (HFA), European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), and European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) of the European Society of Cardiology.

Eur J Heart Fail 2020 12;22(12):2349-2369

Cardiologie, CHU Rennes - LTSI Inserm UMR 1099, Université Rennes-1, Rennes, France.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is one of the most effective therapies for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and leads to improved quality of life, reductions in heart failure hospitalization rates and all-cause mortality. Nevertheless, up to two-thirds of eligible patients are not referred for CRT. Furthermore, post-implantation follow-up is often fragmented and suboptimal, hampering the potential maximal treatment effect. This joint position statement from three European Society of Cardiology Associations, Heart Failure Association (HFA), European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) and European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), focuses on optimized implementation of CRT. We offer theoretical and practical strategies to achieve more comprehensive CRT referral and post-procedural care by focusing on four actionable domains: (i) overcoming CRT under-utilization, (ii) better understanding of pre-implant characteristics, (iii) abandoning the term 'non-response' and replacing this by the concept of disease modification, and (iv) implementing a dedicated post-implant CRT care pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2046DOI Listing
December 2020

Relation of Prolonged Pacemaker Dependency After Cardiac Surgery to Mortality.

Am J Cardiol 2021 01 13;138:66-71. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Cardiac Surgery Unit, Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy.

Permanent pacemaker implantation (PPI) represents a rare complication after cardiac surgery, with no uniform agreement on timing and no information on follow-up. A multicenter retrospective study was designed to assess pacemaker dependency (PMD) and long-term mortality after cardiac surgery procedures. Between 2004 and 2016, PPI-patients from 18 centers were followed. Time-to-event data were evaluated with semiparametric regression Cox models and semiparametric Fine and Gray model for competing risk framework. Of 859 (0.90%) PPI-patients, 30% were pacemaker independent (PMI) at 6 months. PMD showed higher mortality compared with PMI (10-year survival 80.1% ± 2.6% and 92.2% +2.4%, respectively, log-rank p-value < 0.001) with an unadjusted hazard ratio for death of 0.36 (95% CI 0.20 to 0.65, p< 0.001 favoring PMI) and an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.19 (95% CI 0.08 to 0.45, p< 0.001 with PMD as reference). Crude cumulative incidence function of restored PMI rhythm at follow-up at 6 months, 1 year and 12 years were 30.5% (95% CI 27.3% to 33.7%), 33.7% (95% CI 30.4% to 36.9%) and 37.2% (95% CI 33.8% to 40.6%) respectively. PMI was favored by preoperative sinus rhythm with normal conduction (SR) (HR 2.37, 95% CI 1.65 to 3.40, p< 0.001), whereas coronary artery bypass grafting and aortic valve replacement were independently associated with PMD (HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.88, p = 0.006 and HR 0.807, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.99, p = 0.047 respectively). Time-to-implantation was not associated with increased rate of PMI. Although 30% of PPI-patients are PMI after 6 months, PMD is associated with higher mortality at long term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2020.10.010DOI Listing
January 2021

Novel bradycardia pacing strategies.

Heart 2020 Dec 7;106(24):1883-1889. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+), Maastricht, The Netherlands

The adverse effects of ventricular dyssynchrony induced by right ventricular (RV) pacing has led to alternative pacing strategies, such as biventricular, His bundle (HBP), LV septal (LVSP) and left bundle branch pacing (LBBP). Given the overlap, LVSP and LBBP are also collectively referred to as left bundle branch area pacing (LBBAP). Although among these alternative pacing sites HBP is theoretically the ideal strategy as it maintains a physiological ventricular activation, its application requires more skills and is associated with the most complications. LBBAP, where the ventricular pacing lead is advanced through the interventricular septum to its left side, creates ventricular activation that is only slightly more dyssynchronous. Preliminary studies have shown that LBBAP is feasible, safe and encounters less limitations than HBP. Further studies are needed to differentiate between LVSP and LBBP with regard to acute functional and long-term clinical outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2020-316849DOI Listing
December 2020

Cardiac Inflammation Impedes Response to Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy in Patients With Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2020 Nov 30;13(11):e008727. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Cardiovascular Research Institute (CARIM), Departments of Cardiology (J.A.J.V., J.J.M., A.M.W.v.S., M.T.H.M.H., V.P.M.v.E., C.K., J.G.L.M.L., H.J.G.M.C., H.-P.B.-L.R., K.V., S.R.B.H., M.R.H.), Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands.

Background: Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is an established therapy in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and conduction disorders. Still, one-third of the patients with DCM do not respond to CRT. This study aims to depict the underlying cardiac pathophysiological processes of nonresponse to CRT in patients with DCM using endomyocardial biopsies.

Methods: Within the Maastricht and Innsbruck registries of patients with DCM, 99 patients underwent endomyocardial biopsies before CRT implantation, with histological quantification of fibrosis and inflammation, where inflammation was defined as >14 infiltrating cells/mm. Echocardiographic left ventricular end-systolic volume reduction ≥15% after 6 months was defined as response to CRT. RNA was isolated from cardiac biopsies of a representative subset of responders and nonresponders.

Results: Sixty-seven patients responded (68%), whereas 32 (32%) did not respond to CRT. Cardiac inflammation before implantation was negatively associated with response to CRT (25% of responders, 47% of nonresponders; odds ratio 0.3 [0.12-0.76]; =0.01). Endomyocardial biopsies fibrosis did not relate to CRT response. Cardiac inflammation improved the robustness of prediction beyond well-known clinical predictors of CRT response (likelihood ratio test <0.001). Cardiac transcriptomic profiling of endomyocardial biopsies reveals a strong proinflammatory and profibrotic signature in the hearts of nonresponders compared with responders. In particular, , and were significantly higher expressed in the hearts of nonresponders.

Conclusions: Cardiac inflammation along with a transcriptomic profile of high expression of combined proinflammatory and profibrotic genes are associated with a poor response to CRT in patients with DCM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.120.008727DOI Listing
November 2020

Association of ECG characteristics with clinical and echocardiographic outcome to CRT in a non-LBBB patient population.

J Interv Card Electrophysiol 2020 Sep 12. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Purpose: Effectiveness of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in patients without left bundle branch block (non-LBBB) QRS morphology is limited. Additional selection criteria are needed to identify these patients.

Methods: Seven hundred ninety consecutive patients with non-LBBB morphology, who received a CRT-device in 3 university centers in the Netherlands, were selected. Pre-implantation 12-lead ECGs were evaluated on morphology, duration, and area of the QRS complex, as well as on PR interval, left ventricular activation time (LVAT), and the presence of fragmented QRS (fQRS). Association of these ECG features with the primary endpoint: a combination of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation, cardiac transplantation and all-cause mortality, and secondary endpoint-echocardiographic reduction of left ventricular end-systolic volume (LVESV)-were evaluated.

Results: The primary endpoint occurred more often in non-LBBB patients with with PR interval ≥ 230ms, QRS area < 109μVs, and with fQRS. Multivariable regression analysis showed independent associations of QRS area (HR 2.33 [1.44, 3.77], p = 0.001) and PR interval (HR 2.03 [1.51, 2.74], p < 0.001) only. Mean LVESV reduction was significantly lower in patients with baseline RBBB, QRS duration < 150 ms, PR interval ≥ 230 ms, and in QRS area < 109 μVs. Multivariable regression analyses only showed significant associations between QRS area ≥ 109 μVs (OR 2.00 [1.09, 3.66] p = 0.025) and probability of echocardiographic response to CRT.

Conclusions: In the heterogeneous non-LBBB patient population, QRS area and PR prolongation rather than traditional QRS duration and morphology are associated to both clinical and echocardiographic outcomes of CRT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10840-020-00866-zDOI Listing
September 2020

Implementation of an on-demand app-based heart rate and rhythm monitoring infrastructure for the management of atrial fibrillation through teleconsultation: TeleCheck-AF.

Europace 2020 Sep 4. Epub 2020 Sep 4.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Centre and Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

During the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, outpatient visits in the atrial fibrillation (AF) clinic of the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+) were transferred into teleconsultations. The aim was to develop anon-demand app-based heart rate and rhythm monitoring infrastructure to allow appropriatmanagement of AF through teleconsultation. In line with the fundamental aspects of integrated care, including actively involving patients in the care process and providing comprehensive care by a multidisciplinary team, we implemented a mobile health (mHealth) intervention to support teleconsultations with AF patients: TeleCheck-AF. The TeleCheck-AF approach guarantees the continuity of comprehensive AF management and supports integrated care through teleconsultation during COVID-19. It incorporates three important components: (i) a structured teleconsultation ('Tele'), (ii) a CE-marked app-based on-demand heart rate and rhythm monitoring infrastructure ('Check'), and (iii) comprehensive AF management ('AF'). In this article, we describe the components and implementation of the TeleCheck-AF approach in an integrated and specialized AF-clinic through teleconsultation. The TeleCheck-AF approach is currently implemented in numerous European centres during COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa201DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499572PMC
September 2020

Elimination of Benign Ventricular Premature Beats or Ventricular Tachycardia with Catheter Ablation versus Two Different Optimal Antiarrhythmic Drug Treatment Regimens (Sotalol or Verapamil/Flecainide).

Cardiology 2020 25;145(12):795-801. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Isala Heart Center, Zwolle, The Netherlands,

Background: Symptomatic idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias (VA), including premature beats (VPB) and nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) are commonly encountered arrhythmias. Although these VA are usually benign, their treatment can be a challenge to primary and secondary health care providers. Mainstay treatment is comprised of antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD) and, in case of drug intolerance or failure, patients are referred for catheter ablation to tertiary health care centers. These patients require extensive medical attention and drug regimens usually have disappointing results. A direct comparison between the efficacy of the most potent AAD and primary catheter ablation in these patients is lacking. The ECTOPIA trial will evaluate the efficacy of 2 pharmacological strategies and 1 interventional approach to: suppress the VA burden, improve the quality of life (QoL), and safety.

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that flecainide/verapamil combination and catheter ablation are both superior to sotalol in suppressing VA in patients with symptomatic idiopathic VA.

Study Design: The Elimination of Ventricular Premature Beats with Catheter Ablation versus Optimal Antiarrhythmic Drug Treatment (ECTOPIA) trial is a randomized, multicenter, prospective clinical trial to compare the efficacy of catheter ablation versus optimal AAD treatment with sotalol or flecainide/verapamil. One hundred eighty patients with frequent symptomatic VA in the absence of structural heart disease or underlying cardiac ischemia who are eligible for catheter ablation with an identifiable monomorphic VA origin with a burden ≥5% on 24-h ambulatory rhythm monitoring will be included. Patients will be randomized in a 1:1:1 fashion. The primary endpoint is defined as >80% reduction of the VA burden on 24-h ambulatory Holter monitoring. After reaching the primary endpoint, patients randomized to one of the 2 AAD arms will undergo a cross-over to the other AAD treatment arm to explore differences in drug efficacy and QoL in individual patients. Due to the use of different AAD (with and without β-blocking characteristics) we will be able to explore the influence of alterations in sympathetic tone on VA burden reduction in different subgroups. Finally, this study will assess the safety of treatment with 2 different AAD and ablation of VA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000509661DOI Listing
August 2020

Atrial fibrillation in patients with an atrial septal defect in a single centre cohort during a long clinical follow-up: its association with closure and outcome of therapy.

Open Heart 2020 08;7(2)

Cardiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands.

Objective: Currently, consensus is lacking on the relation between closure of atrial septal defect (ASD) and the incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF), which is a known complication in ASD patients. More importantly, studies reporting on the treatment applied for AF in ASD patients are scarce. The aims of this study were (1) to assess the incidence of AF in ASD patients, (2) to study the relation between closure and AF and (3) to evaluate applied treatment strategies.

Methods: A single-centre retrospective study in 173 patients with an ASD was performed. We analysed the incidence of AF, the relation of AF with closure, method of closure and the treatment success of therapies applied.

Results: Almost 20% of patients with an ASD developed AF, with a mean age of 59 (±14) years at first presentation of AF during a median clinical follow-up of 43 (29-59) years. Older age (OR 1.072; p<0.001) and a dilated left atrium (OR 3.727; p=0.009) were independently associated with new-onset AF. Closure itself was not independently associated with AF. First applied treatment strategy was rhythm control in 77%. Of the 18 patients treated with antiarrhythmic drugs 50% had at least 1 recurrence of AF.

Conclusion: No clear relation between closure of the ASD and AF could be assessed. This is the first study describing applied therapy for AF in ASD patients of which medical rhythm control was the most applied strategy with a disappointing efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2020-001298DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7437693PMC
August 2020

Subcutaneous or Transvenous Defibrillator Therapy.

N Engl J Med 2020 08;383(6):526-536

From the Heart Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam (R.E.K., L.R.A.O.N., L.V.A.B., T.F.B., A.-F.B.E.Q., L.S., W.S., A.W., K.C.W., J.R.G., K.M.K., M.C.B., J.G.P.T., A.A.M.W.), ERN GUARD-Heart (E.R.B., P.D.L., A.A.M.W.), and the Department of Cardiology, OLVG (J.S.S.G.J.), Amsterdam, the Department of Cardiology, Isala Heart Centre, Zwolle (P.-P.H.M.D.), the Department of Cardiology, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein (L.V.A.B.), the Department of Cardiology, Flevoziekenhuis, Almere (N.R.B.), the Department of Cardiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen (M.A.B.), the Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht (K.V.), the Department of Cardiology, Amphia Hospital, Breda (M.A.), Werkgroep Cardiologische Centra Nederland, Utrecht (M.A.), and the Department of Electrophysiology, Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven (F.A.L.E.B.) - all in the Netherlands; the First Department of Medicine-Cardiology, University Medical Center Mannheim, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research Partner Site Heidelberg-Mannheim, Mannheim (J.K.), Klinik für Innere Medizin III, Schwerpunkt Kardiologie und Angiologie, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel (H.B.), the Department of Medicine I, Ludwig-Maximilians University Hospital, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research, Munich Heart Alliance, Munich (S.K.), and the Department of Electrophysiology, Heart Center at University of Leipzig, Leipzig (S.R.) - all in Germany; the Division of Cardiology Section of Electrophysiology, Emory University, Atlanta (M.F.E.-C.); the Cardiology Clinical Academic Group, St. George's, University of London and St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust London (E.R.B.), and Office of the Director of Clinical Electrophysiology Research and Lead for Inherited Arrhythmia Specialist Services, University College London and Barts Heart Centre (P.D.L.), London, the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford (T.R.B.), and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Liverpool (D.J.W.) - all in the United Kingdom; Valley Health System, Ridgewood, NJ (S.M.); the Department of Cardiology, Homolka Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic (P.N.); and CorVita Science Foundation, Chicago (M.C.B.).

Background: The subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) was designed to avoid complications related to the transvenous ICD lead by using an entirely extrathoracic placement. Evidence comparing these systems has been based primarily on observational studies.

Methods: We conducted a noninferiority trial in which patients with an indication for an ICD but no indication for pacing were assigned to receive a subcutaneous ICD or transvenous ICD. The primary end point was the composite of device-related complications and inappropriate shocks; the noninferiority margin for the upper boundary of the 95% confidence interval for the hazard ratio (subcutaneous ICD vs. transvenous ICD) was 1.45. A superiority analysis was prespecified if noninferiority was established. Secondary end points included death and appropriate shocks.

Results: A total of 849 patients (426 in the subcutaneous ICD group and 423 in the transvenous ICD group) were included in the analyses. At a median follow-up of 49.1 months, a primary end-point event occurred in 68 patients in the subcutaneous ICD group and in 68 patients in the transvenous ICD group (48-month Kaplan-Meier estimated cumulative incidence, 15.1% and 15.7%, respectively; hazard ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.71 to 1.39; P = 0.01 for noninferiority; P = 0.95 for superiority). Device-related complications occurred in 31 patients in the subcutaneous ICD group and in 44 in the transvenous ICD group (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.44 to 1.09); inappropriate shocks occurred in 41 and 29 patients, respectively (hazard ratio, 1.43; 95% CI, 0.89 to 2.30). Death occurred in 83 patients in the subcutaneous ICD group and in 68 in the transvenous ICD group (hazard ratio, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.89 to 1.70); appropriate shocks occurred in 83 and 57 patients, respectively (hazard ratio, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.08 to 2.12).

Conclusions: In patients with an indication for an ICD but no indication for pacing, the subcutaneous ICD was noninferior to the transvenous ICD with respect to device-related complications and inappropriate shocks. (Funded by Boston Scientific; PRAETORIAN ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01296022.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1915932DOI Listing
August 2020

The value of septal rebound stretch analysis for the prediction of volumetric response to cardiac resynchronization therapy.

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Jan;22(1):37-45

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Aims: Patient selection for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) may be enhanced by evaluation of systolic myocardial stretching. We evaluate whether systolic septal rebound stretch (SRSsept) derived from speckle tracking echocardiography is a predictor of reverse remodelling after CRT and whether it holds additive predictive value over the simpler visual dyssynchrony assessment by apical rocking (ApRock).

Methods And Results: The association between SRSsept and change in left ventricular end-systolic volume (ΔLVESV) at 6 months of follow-up was assessed in 200 patients. Subsequently, the additive predictive value of SRSsept over the assessment of ApRock was evaluated in patients with and without left bundle branch block (LBBB) according to strict criteria. SRSsept was independently associated with ΔLVESV (β 0.221, P = 0.002) after correction for sex, age, ischaemic cardiomyopathy, QRS morphology and duration, and ApRock. A high SRSsept (≥optimal cut-off value 2.4) also coincided with more volumetric responders (ΔLVESV ≥ -15%) than low SRSsept in the entire cohort (70.0% and 56.4%), in patients with strict LBBB (83.3% vs. 56.7%, P = 0.024), and non-LBBB (70.7% vs. 46.3%, P = 0.004). Moreover, in non-LBBB patients, SRSsept held additional predictive information over the assessment of ApRock alone since patients that showed ApRock and high SRSsept were more often volumetric responder than those with ApRock but low SRSsept (82.8% vs. 47.4%, P = 0.001).

Conclusion: SRSsept is strongly associated with CRT-induced reduction in left ventricular end-systolic volume and holds additive prognostic information over QRS morphology and ApRock. Our data suggest that CRT patient selection may be improved by assessment of SRSsept, especially in the important subgroup without strict LBBB.

Clinical Trial Registration: The MARC study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01519908.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeaa190DOI Listing
January 2021

Ventricular tachyarrhythmia detection by implantable loop recording in patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction: the VIP-HF study.

Eur J Heart Fail 2020 10 21;22(10):1923-1929. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Department of Cardiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Aims: The primary aim of the VIP-HF study was to examine the incidence of sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias (VTs) in heart failure (HF) with mid-range (HFmrEF) or preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Secondary aims were to examine the incidence of non-sustained VTs, bradyarrhythmias, HF hospitalizations and mortality.

Methods And Results: This was an investigator-initiated, prospective, multicentre, observational study of patients with HF and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) >40%. Patients underwent extensive phenotyping, after which an implantable loop recorder was implanted. We enrolled 113 of the planned 250 patients [mean age 73 ± 8 years, 51% women, New York Heart Association class II/III 54%/46%, median N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide 1367 (710-2452) pg/mL and mean LVEF 54 ± 6%; 75% had LVEF >50%]. Eighteen percent had non-sustained VTs and 37% had atrial fibrillation on Holter monitoring. During a median follow-up of 657 (219-748) days, the primary endpoint of sustained VT was observed in one patient. The incidence of the primary endpoint was 0.6 (95% confidence interval 0.2-3.5) per 100 person-years. The incidence of the secondary endpoint of non-sustained VT was 11.5 (7.1-18.7) per 100 person-years. Five patients developed bradyarrhythmias [3.2 (1.4-7.5) per 100 person-years], three were implanted with a pacemaker. In total, 23 patients (20%) were hospitalized for HF [16.3 (10.9-24.4) per 100 person-years]. Fourteen patients (12%) died [8.7 (5.2-14.7) per 100 person-years]; 10 due to cardiovascular causes, and four sudden deaths, one with implantable loop recorder-confirmed bradyarrhythmias as terminal event, three others undetermined.

Conclusion: Despite the lower than expected number of included patients, the incidence of sustained VTs in HFmrEF/HFpEF was low. Clinically relevant bradyarrhythmias were more often observed than expected.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.1970DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693069PMC
October 2020

One-Stage Versus Sequential Hybrid Radiofrequency Ablation: An In Vitro Evaluation.

Innovations (Phila) 2020 Jul/Aug;15(4):338-345. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

118066 Cardiothoracic Department Maastricht University Hospital, The Netherlands.

Objective: To compare lesion size and depth between a 1-step, a sequential, and a delayed radio-frequency ablation in a hybrid setup.

Methods: Left atrium tissues obtained from fresh porcine hearts were mounted into the ABLABOX simulator. Based on the time differences between the index epicardial (epi) and consequent endocardial (endo) ablation, 3 study groups were compared: a 1-stage (SEQ- 0) group (0-minute delay), an SEQ 1 group (60-minute delay), and an SEQ 2 group (240-minute delay). During the experiment, a constant epicardial (300 gr) and endocardial (30 gr) force were applied. Per group, 20 samples were studied, and the resulting lesion size and depth were quantified with morphometric evaluation.

Results: Overall, no transmural lesion was obtained. Lesions in SEQ 0 had better maximum and minimum diameters ( < 0.001), a larger total area ( < 0.001), and volume ( < 0.001) than SEQ 1 and SEQ 2. There was no statistical difference in morphometric parameters (all, > 0.05) between the delayed procedures (SEQ 1 and SEQ 2).

Conclusions: In our in vitro model, different time sequences of combined epi-endo ablation did not result in transmural lesions. However, simultaneous epi-endo ablation produced broader and deeper lesions. Our findings need to be confirmed by further research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1556984520930070DOI Listing
July 2020

The ECG Belt for CRT response trial: Design and clinical protocol.

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2020 10 1;43(10):1063-1071. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.

The ECG Belt for CRT response trial is designed to test the hypothesis that in patients traditionally less likely to respond to cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), an individualized approach utilizing the electrocardiogram (ECG) Belt to guide lead placement, vector selection, and device programming is superior to current standard of care. The ECG Belt is a noninvasive mapping technology designed to measure beat by beat electrical activation of the left ventricle by utilizing unipolar measurements from multiple ECG electrodes on the body surface. The ECG Belt for CRT response trial is a multicenter, prospective, randomized, investigational pre-market research study conducted at 48 centers in the United States, Canada, and Europe and will randomize approximately 400 subjects. The trial has three arms (enrollment will be 2:1:1, respectively): utilization of the Belt to guide implant as well as postimplant programming, utilizing the Belt to guide postimplant programming alone, and a non-Belt control arm. AdaptivCRT will be an option in the treatment arm but not the control arms. The primary endpoint is change in left ventricular end-systolic volume between preimplant and at 6 months. This paper describes the design and analytic plan for the trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pace.13985DOI Listing
October 2020

On-demand app-based rate and rhythm monitoring to manage atrial fibrillation through teleconsultations during COVID-19.

Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc 2020 Jun 8;28:100533. Epub 2020 May 8.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Centre and Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, the Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcha.2020.100533DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7205626PMC
June 2020

Electrogram morphology discriminators in implantable cardioverter defibrillators: A comparative evaluation.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 06 7;31(6):1493-1506. Epub 2020 May 7.

Cardio-Thoracic Unit, Bordeaux University Hospital (CHU), Pessac, France.

Background: Morphology algorithms are currently recommended as a standalone discriminator in single-chamber implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). However, these proprietary algorithms differ in both design and nominal programming.

Objective: To compare three different algorithms with nominal versus advanced programming in their ability to discriminate between ventricular (VT) and supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).

Methods: In nine European centers, VT and SVTs were collected from Abbott, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic dual- and triple-chamber ICDs via their respective remote monitoring portals. Percentage morphology matches were recorded for selected episodes which were classified as VT or SVT by means of atrioventricular comparison. The sensitivity and related specificity of each manufacturer discriminator was determined at various values of template match percentage from receiving operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis.

Results: A total of 534 episodes were retained for the analysis. In ROC analyses, Abbott Far Field MD (area under the curve [AUC]: 0.91; P < .001) and Boston Scientific RhythmID (AUC: 0.95; P < .001) show higher AUC than Medtronic Wavelet (AUC: 0.81; P < .001) when tested for their ability to discriminate VT from SVT. At nominal % match threshold all devices provided high sensitivity in VT identification, (91%, 100%, and 90%, respectively, for Abbott, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic) but contrasted specificities in SVT discrimination (85%, 41%, and 62%, respectively). Abbott and Medtronic's nominal thresholds were similar to the optimal thresholds. Optimization of the % match threshold improved the Boston Scientific specificity to 79% without compromising the sensitivity.

Conclusion: Proprietary morphology discriminators show important differences in their ability to discriminate SVT. How much this impact the overall discrimination process remains to be investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14518DOI Listing
June 2020

Evaluating Electrocardiography-Based Identification of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Responders Beyond Current Left Bundle Branch Block Definitions.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 02 27;6(2):193-203. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Department of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Department of Cardiology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the association of 4 left bundle branch block (LBBB) definitions and their individual ECG characteristics with clinical outcome. Furthermore, it aimed to combine relevant outcome-associated electrocardiographic (ECG) characteristics into a novel outcome-based definition.

Background: LBBB morphology is associated with positive response to cardiac resynchronization therapy. However, there are multiple LBBB definitions. Associations with outcomes may differ between definitions and depend on varying contributions of the individual ECG characteristics that these LBBB definitions are composed of.

Methods: A retrospective multicenter study was conducted in 1,492 cardiac resynchronization therapy patients. Patients were classified as LBBB or non-LBBB according to definitions provided by the European Society of Cardiology, American Heart Association, MADIT-CRT (Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation with Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) trial, and according to Strauss et al., the primary endpoint was left ventricular assist device implantation, cardiac transplantation, and all-cause mortality.

Results: LBBB classification differed significantly between the 4 definitions (kappa coefficients ranging from 0.09 to 0.92). The American Heart Association definition correlated the least (0.09 to 0.12) with the other definitions. Only 13.8% of patients were classified as LBBB by all definitions. During a follow-up period of 3.4 ± 2.4 years, 472 (32%) patients experienced the primary endpoint. For each LBBB definition survival analysis showed a significant association of LBBB with outcome, with relative risk reduction ranging from 39% to 43%. Each LBBB definition included characteristics that were not associated with outcome. Combining outcome-associated ECG characteristics into a novel prediction model did not significantly improve diagnostic performance (relative risk reduction 43%).

Conclusions: The classification of LBBB is highly dependent on the LBBB definition used. However, each LBBB definition provides a comparable difference in risk of adverse clinical events between LBBB and non-LBBB patients. Combining individual outcome-associated ECG-characteristics into a novel prediction model does not improve association with outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2019.10.009DOI Listing
February 2020

Strategies to Improve Selection of Patients Without Typical Left Bundle Branch Block for Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 02;6(2):129-142

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is becoming increasingly controversial in patients without typical left bundle branch block (LBBB). Yet, several recent studies displayed that a distinct subpopulation of patients with non-LBBB does benefit from CRT. Patients with non-LBBB should, therefore, not as a group be withheld from a potentially very beneficial therapy. Unfortunately, current clinical practice lacks validated selection criteria that may identify possible CRT responders in the non-LBBB subgroup. Consequently, clinical decision making in these patients is often challenging. A few studies, strongly differing in design, have proposed additive selection criteria for improved response prediction in patients with non-LBBB. There is accumulating evidence that more sophisticated echocardiographic dyssynchrony markers, taking into account the underlying electrical substrate responsive to CRT, can aid in the selection of patients with a non-LBBB who may benefit more favorably from CRT. Furthermore, it is important that cardiologists are aware of the shortcomings of current electrocardiographic selection criteria for CRT. Whereas these criteria provide an evidence-based approach for selecting patients for CRT, they do not necessarily guarantee the most optimal strategy for patient selection. Parameters obtained with vectorcardiography, such as QRS area, show potential to overcome the shortcomings of conventional electrocardiographic selection criteria and may improve response prediction regardless of QRS morphology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2019.11.018DOI Listing
February 2020