Publications by authors named "Robert Schaller"

112 Publications

Percutaneous Removal of a Pulmonary Artery Catheter Inadvertently Sutured to the Heart During Valve Surgery.

JACC Case Rep 2020 Dec 25;2(15):2323-2326. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

A 74-year old woman underwent "mini-mitral" valve surgery via a right thoracotomy. The pulmonary artery catheter could not be removed thereafter and was found to be pierced by the atriotomy suture. Removal was performed by percutaneously lacerating the catheter above and below the suture, leaving behind a small segment. ().
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaccas.2020.07.065DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8304588PMC
December 2020

Micra Extraction: Macro Considerations.

JACC Case Rep 2020 Nov 18;2(14):2253-2255. Epub 2020 Nov 18.

Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaccas.2020.10.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8299853PMC
November 2020

Subserratus implantation of the subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.06.1169DOI Listing
June 2021

Body Surface Excitation of a Compartmentalized Portion of Left Ventricular Epicardium During Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 05;7(5):680-681

Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2021.01.009DOI Listing
May 2021

Intracardiac Echocardiography During Transvenous Lead Extraction.

Card Electrophysiol Clin 2021 06 24;13(2):409-418. Epub 2021 Apr 24.

Arrhythmia Service, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Transvenous lead extraction is an invaluable procedure within the contemporary management of cardiac implantable electronic devices. Transvenous lead extraction has traditionally been guided by fluoroscopy. Complementary imaging with intracardiac echocardiography can provide valuable additional information, such as identification of complications, lead-adherent echodensities, and sites of lead-tissue adherence. As such, it can be used to aid in risk stratification before lead removal, help to choose tools or techniques, and provide visual monitoring throughout the procedure. Intracardiac echocardiography can be incorporated into the lead extraction workflow of the contemporary electrophysiologist and provide valuable information supporting safety and efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccep.2021.03.005DOI Listing
June 2021

Interatrial septal tachycardias following atrial fibrillation ablation or cardiac surgery: Electrophysiological features and ablation outcomes.

Heart Rhythm 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Electrophysiology Section, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Interatrial septal tachycardias (IAS-ATs) following atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation or cardiac surgery are rare, and their management is challenging.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the electrophysiological features and outcomes associated with catheter ablation of IAS-AT.

Methods: We screened 338 patients undergoing catheter ablation of ATs following AF ablation or cardiac surgery. Diagnosis of IAS-AT was based on activation mapping and analysis of response to atrial overdrive pacing.

Results: Twenty-nine patients (9%) had IAS-AT (cycle length [CL] 311 ± 104 ms); 16 (55%) had prior AF ablation procedures (median 3; range 1-5), 3 (10%) had prior surgical maze, and 12 (41%) had prior cardiac surgery (including atrial septal defect surgical repair in 5 and left atrial myxoma resection in 1). IAS substrate abnormalities were documented in all patients. Activation mapping always demonstrated a diffuse early IAS breakout with centrifugal biatrial activation, and atrial overdrive pacing showed a good postpacing interval (equal or within 25 ms of the AT CL) only at 1 or 2 anatomically opposite IAS sites in all cases. Ablation was acutely successful in 27 patients (93%) (from only the right IAS in 2, only the left IAS in 9, both IAS sides with sequential ablation in 13, and both IAS sides with bipolar ablation in 3). After median follow-up of 15 (6-52) months, 17 patients (59%) remained free from recurrent arrhythmias.

Conclusion: IAS-ATs are rare and typically occur in patients with evidence of IAS substrate abnormalities and prior cardiac surgery. Catheter ablation can be challenging and may require sequential unipolar ablation or bipolar ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.04.036DOI Listing
May 2021

Endovascular occlusion balloon-related thrombosis during transvenous lead extraction.

Europace 2021 Apr 5. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Aims: The aim of this study is to evaluate the incidence, predictors, and outcomes of balloon-related thrombosis (BRT) in patients undergoing transvenous lead extraction (TLE). Use of an endovascular occlusion balloon has improved outcomes of superior vena cava injuries during TLE. Its thrombogenicity in clinical practice is unknown.

Methods And Results: We prospectively evaluated consecutive patients undergoing prophylactic balloon placement during TLE utilizing two procedural workflows: one with the balloon within the inferior vena cava during the entire case (standard cohort) and one limiting the balloon's dwell time (abbreviated cohort). Intracardiac echocardiography was used to evaluate for significant BRT (thrombus > 1 cm) after TLE. Forty-two patients (21 in each group) were included. Age, left ventricular ejection fraction, procedural indication, number of leads, and lead dwell time were similar between the groups. Balloon dwell time was significantly longer in the standard group (128 ± 74 vs. 25 ± 18 min, P < 0.001) as was BRT (14/21 vs. 1/21, P < 0.001). Mean thrombus length and width in the standard group was 3.99 ± 1.40 and 0.45 ± 0.16 cm, respectively and 5.2 × 0.4 cm in one patient in the abbreviated group. Between patients with and without BRT in the standard group, balloon dwell times were similar (113 ± 64 vs. 156 ± 88 min, P = 0.21). One patient in the standard group had a pulmonary embolism on post-operative Day 3 and was initiated on oral anticoagulation.

Conclusion: Prophylactic balloon placement for the entirety of the case is associated with a high incidence of BRT; a finding that is decreased when an abbreviated workflow is utilized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab074DOI Listing
April 2021

Low-temperature electrocautery reduces adverse effects from secondary cardiac implantable electronic device procedures: Insights from the WRAP-IT trial.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Jul 27;18(7):1142-1150. Epub 2021 Mar 27.

Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Ohio.

Background: Cardiac device procedures require tissue dissection to free existing device lead(s). Common techniques include blunt dissection, standard electrocautery, and low-temperature electrocautery (PlasmaBlade, Medtronic); however, data on the type of electrosurgical tool used and the development of procedure- or lead-related adverse events are limited.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether standard or low-temperature electrocautery impacts the development of an adverse event.

Methods: We evaluated patients enrolled in WRAP-IT (Worldwide Randomized Antibiotic EnveloPe Infection PrevenTion Trial) undergoing cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) revision, upgrade, or replacement. All adverse events were adjudicated by an independent physician committee. Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard regression modeling.

Results: In total, 5641 patients underwent device revision/upgrade/replacement. Electrocautery was used in 5205 patients (92.3%) (mean age 70.6 ± 12.7 years; 28.8% female), and low-temperature electrocautery was used in 1866 patients (35.9%). Compared to standard electrocautery, low-temperature electrocautery was associated with a 23% reduction in the incidence of a procedure- or lead-related adverse event through 3 years of follow up (hazard ratio [HR] 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.65-0.91; P = .002). After controlling for the number of active leads, degree of capsulectomy, degree of lead dissection, and renal dysfunction, low-temperature electrocautery was associated with a 32% lower risk of lead-related adverse events (HR 0.68; 95% CI 0.52-0.89; P = .004). These effects were consistent across a spectrum of lead-related adverse event types.

Conclusion: This study represents one of the largest assessments of electrocautery use in patients undergoing CIED revision, upgrade, or replacement procedures. Compared to standard electrocautery, low-temperature electrocautery significantly reduces adverse effects from these procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.03.033DOI Listing
July 2021

Pacemaker Pocket Stabilization Utilizing a Novel Envelope and a Three-Point Anchoring Technique.

Cureus 2021 Feb 3;13(2):e13108. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Cardiac Electrophysiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.

A 65-year-old man presented with chronic pain due to frequent movement of a dual chamber pacemaker (PPM) within the device pocket despite being secured to the underlying muscle. Due to chronic pain and possible indolent infection, the PPM was removed and a new device was implanted on the contralateral side via a persistent left superior vena cava. To prevent device movement, it was placed within a CanGaroo® envelope (Aziyo Biologics Inc., Silver Spring, MD, USA), which was secured to the underlying muscle with a silk suture along three of its corners. The envelope, which becomes incorporated into the surrounding tissue forming a vascularized tissue pocket, should further reinforce device stability over time. The patient's left-sided symptoms abated immediately and he remains free of symptoms on the right side over a six-week follow-up period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.13108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7935260PMC
February 2021

Active esophageal cooling for the prevention of thermal injury during atrial fibrillation ablation: a randomized controlled pilot study.

J Interv Card Electrophysiol 2021 Feb 23. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, 9 Founders Pavilion, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Background: Severe endoscopically detected esophageal thermal lesions (EDELs) have been associated with higher risk of progression to atrio-esophageal fistula (AEF) following radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) of atrial fibrillation (AF). We sought to evaluate safety and feasibility of active esophageal cooling using the Attune Medical Esophageal Heat Transfer Device (EnsoETM) to limit frequency or severity of EDELs.

Objective: We sought To evaluate safety and feasibility of active esophageal cooling using the Attune Medical Esophageal Heat Transfer Device (EnsoETM) to limit frequency or severity of EDELs METHODS: Consecutive patients undergoing first-time RFCA were randomized in a 1:1 fashion to esophageal cooling (device group) or standard temperature monitoring (control group). Ablation on the posterior wall was performed with a maximum power of 30W for up to 20s. All patients underwent EGD within 48 h. Endoscopy findings were classified as 1, erythema-mild injury; 2, superficial ulceration-moderate injury; 3, deep ulceration-significant injury; and 4, fistula/perforation. Severe EDELs were defined as grade 3 or 4 lesions.

Results: Forty-four patients completed the study (22 device group, 22 control group). Adjunctive posterior wall isolation was performed more frequently in the device group (11/22, 50% vs. 4/22, 18%). EDELs were detected in 5/22 (23%) control group patients, with mild or moderate injury in 2/5 patients (40%) and severe thermal injury in 3/5 patients (60%). In the device group, EDELs were detected in 8/22 (36%) patients, with mild or moderate injury in 7/8 (87%) patients and severe thermal injury in 1/8 (12%) patients. There was no acute perforation or AEF during follow-up.

Conclusions: Active esophageal cooling may reduce the occurrence of severe EDELs. A larger randomized study is warranted to further evaluate the benefit of this strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10840-021-00960-wDOI Listing
February 2021

Periprocedural Acute Kidney Injury in Patients With Structural Heart Disease Undergoing Catheter Ablation of VT.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 02 28;7(2):174-186. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study sought to examine the impact of periprocedural acute kidney injury (AKI) in scar-related ventricular tachycardia (VT) patients undergoing radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) on short- and long-term outcomes.

Background: The clinical significance of periprocedural AKI in patients with scar-related VT undergoing RFCA has not been previously investigated.

Methods: This study included 317 consecutive patients with scar-related VT undergoing RFCA (age: 64 ± 13 years, mean left ventricular ejection fraction: 33 ± 13%, 55% ischemic cardiomyopathy). Periprocedural AKI was defined as an absolute increase in creatinine of ≥0.3 mg/dl over 48 h or an increase of >1.5× the baseline values within 1 week post-procedure.

Results: Periprocedural AKI occurred in 31 patients (10%). Independent predictors of AKI included chronic kidney disease (odds ratio [OR]: 3.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.48 to 7.96; p = 0.004), atrial fibrillation (OR: 2.42; 95% CI: 1.01 to 5.78; p = 0.047), and peri-procedural acute hemodynamic decompensation (OR: 3.98; 95% CI: 1.17 to 13.52; p = 0.003). After a median follow-up of 39 months (interquartile range: 6 to 65 months), 95 patients (30%) died. Periprocedural AKI was associated with increased risk of early mortality (within 30 days; hazard ratio [HR]: 9.91; 95% CI: 2.87 to 34.22; p < 0.001) and late mortality (within 1 year) (HR: 4.57; 95% CI: 2.08 to 10.05; p < 0.001). After multivariable adjustment, AKI remained independently associated with increased risk of early and late mortality (HR: 4.49; 95% CI: 1.1 to 18.36; p = 0.04, and HR: 3.28; 95% CI: 1.43 to 7.49; p = 0.005, respectively).

Conclusions: Periprocedural AKI occurs in 10% of patients undergoing RFCA of scar-related VT and is strongly associated with increased risk of early and late post-procedural mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.08.018DOI Listing
February 2021

Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients With Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices With Abandoned Leads.

JAMA Cardiol 2021 May;6(5):549-556

Department of Radiology, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Importance: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the modality of choice for many conditions. Conditional devices and novel protocols for imaging patients with legacy cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) have increased access to MRI in patients with devices. However, the presence of abandoned leads remains an absolute contraindication.

Objective: To assess if the performance of an MRI in the presence of an abandoned CIED lead is safe and whether there are deleterious effects on concomitant active CIED leads.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study included consecutive CIED recipients undergoing 1.5-T MRI with at least 1 abandoned lead between January 2013 and June 2020. MRI scans were performed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. No patients were excluded.

Exposures: CIEDs were reprogrammed based on patient-specific pacing needs. Electrocardiography telemetry and pulse oximetry were monitored continuously, and live contact with the patient throughout the scan via visual and voice contact was performed if possible. After completion of the MRI, CIED evaluation was repeated and programming returned to baseline or to a clinically appropriate setting.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Variation in pre- and post-MRI capture threshold of 50% or more, ventricular sensing 40% or more, and lead impedance 30% or more, as well as clinical sequelae such as pain and sustained tachyarrhythmia were considered significant. Long-term follow-up lead-related data were analyzed if available.

Results: A total of 139 consecutive patients (110 men [79%]) with a mean (SD) age of 65.6 (13.4) years underwent 200 MRIs of various anatomic regions including the thorax. Repeat examinations were common with a maximum of 16 examinations for 1 patient. There was a total of 243 abandoned leads with a mean (SD) of 1.22 (0.45) per patient. The mean (SD) number of active leads was 2.04 (0.78) and 64 patients (46%) were pacemaker dependent. A transmit-receive radiofrequency coil was used in 41 patients (20.5%), all undergoing MRI of the brain. There were no abnormal vital signs or sustained tachyarrhythmias. No changes in battery voltage, power-on reset events, or changes of pacing rate were noted. CIED parameter changes including decreased right atrial sensing in 4 patients and decreased left ventricular R-wave amplitude in 1 patient were transiently noted. One patient with an abandoned subcutaneous array experienced sternal heating that subsided on premature cessation of the study.

Conclusions And Relevance: The risk of MRI in patients with abandoned CIED leads was low in this large observational study, including patients who underwent examination of the thorax. The growing aggregate of data questions the absolute contraindication for MRI in patients with abandoned CIED leads.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.7572DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7890450PMC
May 2021

Stroke, Timing of Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis, and Risk of Death.

Neurology 2021 03 3;96(12):e1655-e1662. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

From the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine (A.B., Y.B., M.C.H., J.A., D.J.C., N.C., S.D., A.E.E., D.S.F., F.C.G., R.K., J.J.L., D.L., S.N., M.P.R., P.S., R.D.S., G.E.S., F.M., R.D.), and Department of Neurology (S.R.M., S.E.K.), Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Department of Biostatistics (R.K.), University of Washington, Seattle; and Division of Cardiology (P.J.P.), St. Vincent Medical Group, Indianapolis, IN.

Objective: To evaluate the prognosis of patients with ischemic stroke according to the timing of an atrial fibrillation (AF) diagnosis, we created an inception cohort of incident stroke events and compared the risk of death between patients with stroke with (1) sinus rhythm, (2) known AF (KAF), and (3) AF diagnosed after stroke (AFDAS).

Methods: We used the Penn AF Free study to create an inception cohort of patients with incident stroke. Mortality events were identified after linkage with the National Death Index through June 30, 2017. We also evaluated initiation of anticoagulants and antiplatelets across the study duration. Cox proportional hazards models evaluated associations between stroke subtypes and death.

Results: We identified 1,489 individuals who developed an incident ischemic stroke event: 985 did not develop AF at any point during the study period, 215 had KAF before stroke, 160 had AF detected ≤6 months after stroke, and 129 had AF detected >6 months after stroke. After a median follow-up of 4.9 years (interquartile range 1.9-6.8), 686 deaths occurred. The annualized mortality rate was 8.8% in the stroke, no AF group; 12.2% in the KAF group; 15.8% in the AFDAS ≤6 months group; and 12.7% in the AFDAS >6 months group. Patients in the AFDAS ≤6 months group had the highest independent risk of all-cause mortality even after multivariable adjustment for demographics, clinical risk factors, and the use of antithrombotic therapies (hazard ratio 1.62 [1.22-2.14]). Compared to the stroke, no AF group, those with KAF had a higher mortality risk that was rendered nonsignificant after adjustment.

Conclusions: The AFDAS group had the highest risk of death, which was not explained by comorbidities or use of antithrombotic therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011633DOI Listing
March 2021

Myocardial Substrate Characterization by CMR T Mapping in Patients With NICM and No LGE Undergoing Catheter Ablation of VT.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 Jul 27;7(7):831-840. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: The goal of this study was to characterize the relationship between DF, the electroanatomic mapping (EAM) substrate, and outcomes of catheter ablation of VT in NICM.

Background: A substantial proportion of patients with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (NICM) and ventricular tachycardia (VT) do not have scar detectable by cardiac magnetic resonance late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging. In these patients, the significance of diffuse fibrosis (DF) detected with T mapping has not been previously investigated.

Methods: This study included 51 patients with NICM and VT undergoing catheter ablation (median age 55 years; 77% male subjects) who had no evidence of LGE on pre-procedural cardiac magnetic resonance. Post-contrast T relaxation time determined on the septum was assessed as a surrogate of DF burden. The extent of endocardial low-voltage areas (LVAs) at EAM was correlated with T mapping data.

Results: Bipolar LVAs were present in 22 (43%) patients (median extent 15 cm [8 to 29 cm]) and unipolar LVA in all patients (median extent 48 cm [26 to 120 cm]). A significant inverse correlation was found between T values and both unipolar-LVA (R = 0.64; β = -0.85; p < 0.01) and bipolar-LVA (R = 0.16; β = -1.63; p < 0.01). After a median follow-up of 45 months (22 to 57 months), 2 (4%) patients died, 3 (6%) underwent heart transplantation, and 8 (16%) experienced VT recurrence. Shorter post-contrast T time was associated with an increased risk of VT recurrence (hazard ratio: 1.16; 95% confidence interval: 1.03 to 1.33 per 10 ms decrease; p = 0.02).

Conclusions: In patients with NICM and no evidence of LGE undergoing catheter ablation of VT, DF estimated by using post-contrast T mapping correlates with the voltage abnormality at EAM and seems to affect post-ablation outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.10.002DOI Listing
July 2021

Continuous rhythm monitoring-guided anticoagulation after atrial fibrillation ablation.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2021 Feb 9;32(2):345-353. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: Oral anticoagulation (OAC) based on estimated stroke risk is recommended following catheter ablation (CA) of atrial fibrillation (AF), regardless of the extent of arrhythmia control. However, discontinuing OAC in selected patients may be safe. We sought to evaluate a strategy of OAC discontinuation following AF ablation guided by continuous rhythm monitoring.

Methods And Results: We prospectively studied AF ablations performed at our institution from June 2015 to December 2019. Patients that had pre-existing cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) or underwent insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) implantation immediately following AF ablation were included. OAC was continued for 6 weeks following CA in all patients, following which OAC management was guided by CHA DS -VASc score and continuous rhythm monitoring results, according to a prespecified protocol. AF recurrence was defined as ≥30 s (CIEDs) or ≥2 min (ICM). We studied 196 patients (mean age 64.7 ± 11.3 years, 66.8% male, 85.7% ICM, 14.3% CIEDs). Mean CHA DS VASc score was 2.2  ± 1.5. One-year AF-free survival following CA was 83% for paroxysmal AF and 63% for persistent AF patients. Over 3 year follow-up, OAC was discontinued in 57 (33.7%) patients, mean 7.4 ± 7.1 months following ablation. Following discontinuation, OAC was restarted for AF recurrence in 9 (15.8%) patients, mean 11.7 ± 6.8 months after stopping. This discontinuation protocol led to a 21.9% reduction in overall time exposed to OAC. There were no thromboembolic or major bleeding events.

Conclusion: OAC can be discontinued in a significant percentage of patients following CA of AF. When guided by continuous rhythm monitoring, this practice does not unacceptably increase the risk of thromboembolic events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14864DOI Listing
February 2021

Permanent His Bundle Pacing in Patients With Congenital Complete Heart Block: A Multicenter Experience.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 04 24;7(4):522-529. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Division of Cardiology, Geisinger Heart Institute, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objectives: This study retrospectively assessed the safety and efficacy of permanent His bundle pacing (HBP) in patients with congenital complete heart block (CCHB).

Background: HBP has become an accepted form of pacing in adults. Its role in CCHB is not known.

Methods: Seventeen patients with CCHB who underwent successful HBP were analyzed at 6 academic centers between 2016 and 2019. Nine patients had de novo implants, and 8 patients had previous right ventricular (RV) leads. Three RV paced patients had reduced left ventricular ejection fractions at the time of HBP. Implant/follow-up device parameters, New York Heart Association functional class, QRS duration, and left ventricular ejection fraction data were analyzed.

Results: Patients' mean age was 27.4 ± 11.3 years, 59% were women, and mean follow-up was 385 ± 279 days. The following parameters were found to be statistically significant between implant and follow-up, respectively: impedance, 602 ± 173 Ω versus 460 ± 80 Ω (p < 0.001); and New York Heart Association functional class, 1.7 ± 0.9 versus 1.1 ± 0.3 (p = 0.014). In patients with previous RV pacing, HBP resulted in a significant decrease in QRS duration: 167.1 ± 14.3 ms versus 118.3 ± 13.9 ms (p < 0.0001). In de novo implants, HBP resulted in increases in QRS duration compared with baseline: 111.1 ± 19.4 ms versus 91.0 ± 4.8 ms (p = 0.016). Other parameters exhibited no statistically significant differences. During follow-up, 2 patients required lead revision due to elevated pacing thresholds.

Conclusions: HBP seems to be safe and effective, with improvement in clinical outcomes in patients with CCHB. Larger studies with longer follow-up periods are required to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.09.015DOI Listing
April 2021

Chronic Swelling Over Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device Sites: A Multicenter Case Series.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2020 12 15;13(12):e009253. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (N.V.K.P., A.E.E., G.E.S., R.D.S.).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.120.009253DOI Listing
December 2020

Catheter ablation of atrial arrhythmias following lung transplant: Electrophysiological findings and outcomes.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2021 01 25;32(1):49-57. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: Data on the mechanisms of atrial arrhythmias (AAs) and outcomes of catheter ablation (CA) in lung transplantation (LT) patients are insufficient. We evaluated the electrophysiologic features and outcomes of CA of AAs in LT patients. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a retrospective study of all the LT patients who underwent CA for AAs at our institution between 2004 and 2019. A total of 15 patients (43% males, age: 61 ± 10 years) with a history of LT (60% bilateral and 40% unilateral) were identified. All patients had documented organized AA on surface electrocardiogram and seven patients also had atrial fibrillation (AF; 47% with >1 clinical arrhythmia). At electrophysiological study, 19 organized AAs were documented (48% focal and 52% macro-re-entrant). Focal atrial tachycardias/flutters were targeted along the pulmonary vein (PV) anastomotic site at the left inferior PV (n = 2), ridge and carina of the left superior PV (n = 2), left atrium (LA) posterior wall (n = 3), LA roof (n = 1), and tricuspid annulus (n = 1). Macro-re-entrant AAs included cavotricuspid isthmus-dependent flutter (n = 2), incisional LA flutter (n = 4), LA roof-dependent flutter (n = 1), and mitral annular flutter (n = 3). In patients with LA mapping (n = 13), PV reconnection on the side of the LT was found in six patients (40%, all with clinically documented AF), with a mean of 2.1 ± 0.9 PVs reconnected per patient. Patients with AF underwent successful PV isolation. After a median follow-up of 19 months (range: 6-86 months), 75% of patients remained free from recurrent AAs. No procedural major complications occurred.

Conclusion: In patients with prior LT, recurrent AAs are typically associated with substrate surrounding the surgical anastomotic lines and/or chronically reconnected PVs. CA of AAs in this population is safe and effective to achieve long-term arrhythmia control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14816DOI Listing
January 2021

Strategies for Catheter Ablation of Left Ventricular Papillary Muscle Arrhythmias: An Institutional Experience.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 10 16;6(11):1381-1392. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiology Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study sought to address whether technological innovations such as contact force sensing (CFS) can improve acute and long-term ablation outcomes of left ventricular papillary muscle (LV PAP) ventricular arrhythmias (VAs).

Background: Catheter ablation of LV PAP VAs has been less efficacious than another focal VAs. It remains unclear whether technological innovations such as CFS can improve acute and long-term ablation outcomes of LV PAP VA.

Methods: From January 2015 to December 2019, a total of 137 patients underwent LV PAP VA ablation. VA site of origin (SOO) was identified using activation and pace-mapping guided by intracardiac echocardiography. Radiofrequency energy (20 to 50 W for 60 to 90 s) was delivered by irrigated catheter with or without CFS. We defined acute success as complete suppression of targeted VA ≥30 min post ablation and clinical success as ≥80% VA burden reduction at outpatient follow-up.

Results: VA manifested as premature ventricular complexes in 98 (71%), nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in 18 (13%), sustained ventricular tachycardia in 12 (9%) and premature ventricular complexes induced ventricular fibrillation in 9 (7%). VA SOO was anterolateral PAP in 51 (37%), posteromedial PAP in 73 (53%), and both PAPs in 13 (10%). VAs were targeted using CFS in 97 (71%) and non-CFS in 40 (29%). After a single procedure, acute success was achieved in 130 (95%) and clinical success was achieved in 112 (82%); neither was impacted by VA SOO and/or CFS. Complications occurred in 5 patients (3.6%).

Conclusion: Independent of CFS technology, intracardiac echocardiography-guided catheter ablation is highly efficacious and may be considered as first-line therapy in the management of LV PAP VA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.06.026DOI Listing
October 2020

Ablation of Ventricular Arrhythmias From the Left Ventricular Apex in Patients Without Ischemic Heart Disease.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 09 27;6(9):1089-1102. Epub 2020 May 27.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Electrophysiology Section, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objectives: This study aimed to characterize the incidence, clinical characteristics, and electrocardiographic and electrophysiologic features of LVA VA in the absence of CAD and to describe the experience with catheter ablation (CA) in this group.

Background: The left ventricular apex (LVA) is a well-described source of ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and history of apical infarction but is a rare source of VA in the absence of CAD.

Methods: Patients referred for CA of VA at our institution were retrospectively reviewed, and those with LVA VA in the absence of CAD were identified.

Results: Of 3,710 consecutive patients undergoing VA ablation, CA of LVA VA was performed in 24 patients (20 with monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, 4 with premature ventricular contractions or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia; 18 men; mean age: 54 ± 15 years). These cases comprised 10 of 35 (29%) hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 9 of 789 (1.2%) nonischemic cardiomyopathy, and 5 of 1,432 (0.4%) idiopathic VA ablation procedures. VA QRS morphology was predominantly right bundle with slurred upstroke and right superior frontal plane axis with precordial transition ≤V3. Epicardial ablation was performed in 14 of 24 (58%). After a median of 1 procedure (range 1 to 4) at this institution and median follow-up of 47 months (range 0-176), VA recurred in 1 patient (4%).

Conclusions: LVA VA in the absence of CAD is unusual and may occur in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or nonischemic cardiomyopathy or, rarely, in the absence of structural heart disease. It can be recognized by characteristic ECG features. CA of LVA VA is challenging; multiple procedures, including epicardial approaches, may be required to achieve VA control over long-term follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.04.021DOI Listing
September 2020

Improvement in tricuspid regurgitation following catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 11 14;31(11):2883-2888. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Cardiovascular Division, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: Functional tricuspid regurgitation (TR) remains a challenging clinical problem with poor outcomes and few effective treatments. Atrial fibrillation (AF) has been associated with functional TR. We sought to determine whether restoring sinus rhythm through catheter ablation of AF can decrease the degree of TR.

Methods And Results: A retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing AF ablation between 2011 and 2017 at a single center was conducted. We included patients with at least moderate TR on echocardiogram within the year preceding ablation, who underwent repeat echocardiogram within the year following ablation. Formal quantitative analysis was performed by an experienced research echocardiographer, blinded to arrhythmia outcomes. Arrhythmia-free survival was correlated to the extent of improvement in TR. Thirty-six patients met the inclusion criteria. A baseline echocardiogram was performed 37 ± 68 days before ablation and follow-up echocardiogram 139 ± 112 days following ablation. Patients were 63.7 ± 11.1 years old with a mean CHA DS -VASc score of 2.7 ± 1.7. The degree of TR improved by at least one grade in 23 patients (64%). TR area decreased from 11.6 ± 3.4 to 7.0 ± 3.5 cm (p < .001) following ablation. Freedom from AF postablation was associated with a greater likelihood of improvement in TR by at least one grade (100% vs. 41%, p = .02).

Conclusions: In patients with AF and at least moderate TR, catheter ablation is associated with substantial improvement in TR severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14707DOI Listing
November 2020

Percutaneous recanalization of superior vena cava occlusions for cardiac implantable electronic device implantation: Tools and techniques.

Heart Rhythm 2020 11 26;17(11):2010-2015. Epub 2020 Jun 26.

Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.06.021DOI Listing
November 2020

COVID-19 and cardiac arrhythmias.

Heart Rhythm 2020 Sep 22;17(9):1439-1444. Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Early studies suggest that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with a high incidence of cardiac arrhythmias. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection may cause injury to cardiac myocytes and increase arrhythmia risk.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the risk of cardiac arrest and arrhythmias including incident atrial fibrillation (AF), bradyarrhythmias, and nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT) in a large urban population hospitalized for COVID-19. We also evaluated correlations between the presence of these arrhythmias and mortality.

Methods: We reviewed the characteristics of all patients with COVID-19 admitted to our center over a 9-week period. Throughout hospitalization, we evaluated the incidence of cardiac arrests, arrhythmias, and inpatient mortality. We also used logistic regression to evaluate age, sex, race, body mass index, prevalent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and intensive care unit (ICU) status as potential risk factors for each arrhythmia.

Results: Among 700 patients (mean age 50 ± 18 years; 45% men; 71% African American; 11% received ICU care), there were 9 cardiac arrests, 25 incident AF events, 9 clinically significant bradyarrhythmias, and 10 NSVTs. All cardiac arrests occurred in patients admitted to the ICU. In addition, admission to the ICU was associated with incident AF (odds ratio [OR] 4.68; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.66-13.18) and NSVT (OR 8.92; 95% CI 1.73-46.06) after multivariable adjustment. Also, age and incident AF (OR 1.05; 95% CI 1.02-1.09) and prevalent heart failure and bradyarrhythmias (OR 9.75; 95% CI 1.95-48.65) were independently associated. Only cardiac arrests were associated with acute in-hospital mortality.

Conclusion: Cardiac arrests and arrhythmias are likely the consequence of systemic illness and not solely the direct effects of COVID-19 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.06.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7307518PMC
September 2020

Evaluation of Radiofrequency Ablation Irrigation Type: In Vivo Comparison of Normal Versus Half-Normal Saline Lesion Characteristics.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 06 27;6(6):684-692. Epub 2020 May 27.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objectives: This study investigated the impact of the type of catheter irrigant used during delivery of radiofrequency ablation.

Background: The use of half-normal saline (HNS) as an irrigant has been suggested as a method for increasing ablation lesion size but has not been rigorously studied in the beating heart or the use of a low-flow irrigation catheter.

Methods: Sixteen swine underwent left ventricular mapping and ablation using either normal saline (NS) (group 1: n = 9) or half-normal saline (HNS) (group 2: n = 7). All lesions were delivered using identical parameters (40 W with 10-second ramp, 30-second duration, 15 ml/min flow, and 8- to14-g target contact force). An occurrence of steam pop, catheter char, or thrombus was assessed using intracardiac echocardiography and catheter inspection following each application. Lesion depth, width, and area were measured using electronic calibers.

Results: A total of 109 lesions were delivered in group 1 and 77 in group 2. There were significantly more steam pops in group 2 (32 of 77 [42%] vs. 24 of 109 [22%], respectively). The frequencies of catheter tip char were similar (group 1: 9 of 109 [8%] vs. group 2: 10 of 77 [13%]; p = 0.29). Lesion depths, widths, and areas also were similar in both groups.

Conclusions: The use of an HNS irrigant using a low-flow open irrigated ablation catheter platform results in more tissue heating due to higher radiofrequency current delivery directed to tissue, but this can lead to higher rate of steam pops. In this in vivo porcine beating-heart model, the use of HNS does not appear to significantly increase lesion size in normal myocardium despite evidence of increased radiofrequency heating.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.02.013DOI Listing
June 2020

Debulking Infection: Do What's Right, Save What's Left.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 06;6(6):681-683

Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

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June 2020

Comparison of left ventricular lead upgrade vs continued medical care among patients eligible for cardiac resynchronization therapy at the time of defibrillator generator replacement: Predictors of left ventricular lead upgrade and associations with long-term outcomes.

Heart Rhythm 2020 11 1;17(11):1878-1886. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiology, University of California-San Diego, San Diego, California. Electronic address:

Background: Randomized trials evaluating cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) have excluded patients with a pre-existing implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). The association of CRT upgrade with clinical outcomes in patients with a pre-existing ICD is unclear.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine a CRT-eligible population to evaluate clinical outcomes associated with CRT upgrade compared to patients who did not undergo CRT.

Methods: Using the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) ICD Registry between April 2010 and December 2014, we created a hierarchical logistic regression model to identify predictors of CRT upgrade in a CRT-eligible ICD population. In the subpopulation of patients with Medicare-linked claims data, differential outcomes were determined with censoring at 3 years. The primary endpoint of this study was all-cause mortality, with secondary endpoints of rates of hospitalization and procedural complications.

Results: CRT upgrade was performed in 75.5% of CRT-eligible patients with pre-existing ICD (n = 15,803). Presence of left bundle branch block conduction was the strongest predictor of CRT upgrade (odds ratio [OR] 4.56; 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.08-5.11; P <.0001). In both unadjusted and adjusted analyses, CRT upgrade was associated with a reduction in mortality at 3 years (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.80; 95% CI 0.70-0.92; P = .001; adjusted HR 0.84; 95% CI 0.72-0.98; P = .02, respectively). Compared to patients with ICD generator replacement only, patients who underwent CRT upgrade experienced no different 3-year rates of hospitalization (adjusted HR 1.01; 95% CI 0.91-1.12; P = .81) or 1-year periprocedural complication rates (adjusted HR 1.07; 95% CI 0.79-1.45; P = .66).

Conclusion: In a national registry of CRT-eligible patients with pre-existing ICD, upgrade to CRT was associated with lower rates of mortality than continued medical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.05.032DOI Listing
November 2020

QRS morphology in lead V for the rapid localization of idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias originating from the left ventricular papillary muscles: A novel electrocardiographic criterion.

Heart Rhythm 2020 10 23;17(10):1711-1718. Epub 2020 May 23.

Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Twelve-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) criteria have been developed to identify idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) from the left ventricular (LV) papillary muscles (PAPs), but accurate localization remains a challenge.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop ECG criteria for accurate localization of LV PAP VAs using lead V exclusively.

Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing mapping and ablation of VAs from the LV PAPs guided by intracardiac echocardiography from 2007 to 2018 were reviewed (study group). The QRS morphology in lead V was compared to patients with VAs with a "right bundle branch block" morphology from other LV locations (reference group). Patients with structural heart disease were excluded.

Results: One hundred eleven patients with LV PAP VAs (mean age 54 ± 16 years; 65% men) were identified, including 64 (55%) from the posteromedial PAP and 47 (42%) from the anterolateral PAP. The reference group included patients with VAs from the following LV locations: fascicles (n = 21), outflow tract (n = 36), ostium (n = 37), inferobasal segment (n = 12), and apex (5). PAP VAs showed 3 distinct QRS morphologies in lead V 93% of the time: Rr (53%), R with a slurred downslope (29%), and RR (11%). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for the 3 morphologies combined are 93%, 98%, 98%, and 93%, respectively. The intrinsicoid deflection of PAP VAs in lead V was shorter than that of the reference group (63 ± 13 ms vs 79 ± 24 ms; P < .001). An intrinsicoid deflection time of <74 ms best differentiated the 2 groups (sensitivity 79%; specificity 87%).

Conclusion: VAs originating from the LV PAPs manifest unique QRS morphologies in lead V, which can aid in rapid and accurate localization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.05.021DOI Listing
October 2020
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