Publications by authors named "Vidal Essebag"

161 Publications

Canadian Registry of Electronic Device Outcomes: remote monitoring outcomes in the Abbott battery performance alert-a multicentre cohort.

Europace 2021 Feb 20. Epub 2021 Feb 20.

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, QEII Health Sciences Center, Halifax Infirmary Site, 796 Summer Street, Room 2501D, Halifax NS B3H 3A7, Canada.

Aims: Cardiac implantable electronic devices with device advisories have the potential of device malfunction. Remote monitoring (RM) of devices has been suggested to allow the identification of abnormal device performance and permit early intervention. We sought to describe the outcomes of patients with and without RM in devices subject to the Abbott Premature Battery Depletion (PBD) advisory with data from a Canadian registry.

Methods And Results: Patients with an Abbott device subject to the PBD advisory from nine implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanting centres in Canada were included in the registry. The use of RM was identified from baseline and follow-up data in the registry. The primary outcome was detection of PBD and all-cause mortality. A total of 2666 patients were identified with a device subject to the advisory. In all, 1687 patients (63.2%) had RM at baseline. There were 487 deaths during follow-up. At a mean follow-up of 5.7 ± 0.7 years, mortality was higher in those without a remote monitor compared with RM at baseline (24.7% vs. 14.5%; P < 0.001). Pre-mature battery depletion was identified in 36 patients (2.1%) with RM vs. 7 (0.7%) without RM (P = 0.004). Time to battery replacement was significantly reduced in patients on RM (median 5 vs. 13 days, P = 0.001).

Conclusion: The use of RM in patients with ICD and cardiac resynchronization therapy under advisory improved detection of PBD, time to device replacement, and was associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality. The factors influencing the association with mortality are unknown and deserve further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab025DOI Listing
February 2021

A randomized ablation-based atrial fibrillation rhythm control versus rate control trial in patients with heart failure and high burden atrial fibrillation: The RAFT-AF trial rationale and design.

Am Heart J 2021 04 17;234:90-100. Epub 2021 Jan 17.

Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, ON, Canada.

Heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) are 2 cardiac conditions that are increasing in prevalence and incidence. The 2 conditions frequently coexist, and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Catheter ablation of AF has been successfully performed in patients with HF, with an improvement in HF and AF, when compared to amiodarone, but further data is required to compare this to rate control. OBJECTIVES: The primary objective is to determine whether AF treated by catheter ablation, with or without antiarrhythmic drugs reduces all-cause mortality and hospitalizations for HF as compared with rate control in patients with HF and a high burden AF. METHODS: This is a multi-center prospective randomized open blinded endpoint (PROBE) study. Patients with NYHA class II-III HF (HF with reduced ejection fraction (<35%) or HF with preserved ejection fraction), and high burden AF are included in the trial. Patients are randomized to either rate control or catheter ablation-based AF rhythm control in a 1:1 ratio. Patients in the rate control group receive optimal HF therapy and rate control measures to achieve a resting hazard ratio (HR) < 80 bpm and 6-minute walk HR < 110 bpm. Patients randomized to catheter ablation-based AF rhythm control group receive optimal HF therapy and one or more aggressive catheter ablation, which include PV antral ablation and LA substrate ablation with or without adjunctive antiarrhythmic drug. The primary outcome is a composite of all-cause mortality and hospitalization for heart failure defined as an admission to a health care facility. The sample size is 600. Enrolment has been completed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2021.01.012DOI Listing
April 2021

Canadian Registry of Electronic Device Outcomes (CREDO): The Abbott ICD Premature Battery Depletion Advisory, a Multicentre Cohort Study.

CJC Open 2021 Jan 12;3(1):48-53. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, QEII Health Sciences Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Background: Premature or rapid battery depletion may compromise the performance and reliability of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), potentially resulting in harm or death to patients. We sought to describe the outcomes and clinical management of devices included in the Abbott ICD Premature Battery Depletion Advisory, using data from a Canadian registry.

Methods: This prospective observational study includes patients with an Abbott device subject to the advisory, from 9 centres in Canada. The incidence and outcomes related to device revision owing to premature battery depletion were identified and adjudicated by a committee.

Results: There were 2678 patients enrolled with a device subject to the advisory. Devices were implanted between 2010 and 2017; follow-up time was 5.7 ± 0.7 years. Device revision occurred in 222 patients (8.3%). Revision for premature battery depletion occurred in 43 patients (1.6%). Devices were revised at physician discretion on notice of the advisory in 16 patients (0.6%), and at patient request in 5 patients (0.2%). A total of 63 (2.4%) devices reached routine end of battery life. A further 95 (3.5%) patients underwent revision for other reasons. There were no reported major complications or adverse events with device revision owing to the advisory. There were no deaths attributed to premature battery depletion.

Conclusions: The rate of premature battery depletion associated with the Abbott ICD Premature Battery Depletion Advisory is low. There were no clinically adverse events identified that were associated with the battery performance of devices under advisory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjco.2020.09.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801196PMC
January 2021

Post-operative pain following cardiac implantable electronic device implantation: insights from the BRUISE CONTROL trials.

Europace 2020 Dec 28. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Libin Cardiovascular Institute, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Aims : Post-operative pain following cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) insertion is associated with patient dissatisfaction, emotional distress, and emergency department visits. We sought to identify factors associated with post-operative pain and develop a prediction score for post-operative pain.

Methods And Results : All patients from the BRUISE CONTROL-1 and 2 trials were included in this analysis. A validated Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) was used to assess the severity of pain related to CIED implant procedures. Patients were asked to grade the most severe post-operative pain, average post-operative pain, and pain on the day of the first post-operative clinic. Multivariable regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of significant post-operative pain and to develop a pain-prediction score. A total of 1308 patients were included. Multivariable regression analysis found that the presence of post-operative clinically significant haematoma {CSH; P value < 0.001; odds ratio (OR) 3.82 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.37-6.16]}, de novo CIED implantation [P value < 0.001; OR 1.90 (95% CI: 1.47-2.46)], female sex [P value < 0.001; OR 1.61 (95% CI: 1.22-2.12)], younger age [<65 years; P value < 0.001; OR 1.54 (95% CI: 1.14-2.10)], and lower body mass index [<20 kg/m2; P value < 0.05; OR 2.05 (95% CI: 0.98-4.28)] demonstrated strong and independent associations with increased post-operative pain. An 11-point post-operative pain prediction score was developed using the data.

Conclusion : Our study has identified multiple predictors of post-operative pain after CIED insertion. We have developed a prediction score for post-operative pain that can be used to identify individuals at risk of experiencing significant post-operative pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa349DOI Listing
December 2020

Fusion pacing in patients with right bundle branch block who undergo cardiac resynchronization therapy.

J Electrocardiol 2021 Jan-Feb;64:66-71. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada. Electronic address:

Purpose: Patients with right bundle branch block (RBBB) are less likely to respond to cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). We aimed to assess whether patients with RBBB respond to CRT with biventricular fusion pacing.

Methods: Consecutive patients with RBBB at a single tertiary care center, who were implanted with a CRT device capable of biventricular fusion pacing using SyncAV programming, were assessed and compared to a historical cohort of CRT patients with RBBB. QRSd was measured and compared during intrinsic conduction, nominal CRT pacing and manual electrocardiogram-based optimized SyncAV programming. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was also compared before and 6 months after CRT.

Results: We included 8 consecutive patients with RBBB (group 1) who were able to undergo SyncAV programming and 16 patients with RBBB (group 2) from a historical cohort. In group 1, compared to mean intrinsic conduction QRSd (155 ± 13 ms), mean nominally-paced QRSd was 156 ± 15 ms (ΔQRSd 1.3 ± 11.6; p = 0.77) and SyncAV-optimized paced QRSd was 135 ± 14 ms (ΔQRSd -20.0 ± 20.4; p = 0.03 and ΔQRSd -21.3 ± 16.3; p = 0.008; compared to intrinsic conduction and nominal pacing respectively). In group 2, mean QRSd with nominal pacing was 160 ± 24 ms (ΔQRSd 3.8 ± 33.4; p = 0.66 compared to intrinsic conduction). In group 1, baseline LVEF was 22.1 ± 11.5 and after 6 months of follow-up was 27.8 ± 8.6 (p = 0.047). In group 2, the baseline LVEF was 27.2 ± 10.6 and after 6 months of follow-up was 25.0 ± 10.0 (p = 0.45).

Conclusions: CRT programed to allow biventricular fusion pacing significantly improved electrical synchrony and LVEF in patients with RBBB. Larger studies are required to confirm these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2020.12.001DOI Listing
December 2020

Association of the left common ostium with clinical outcome after pulmonary vein isolation in atrial fibrillation.

Indian Pacing Electrophysiol J 2021 Mar-Apr;21(2):95-100. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Instituto de Cardiologia do Rio Grande do Sul / Fundação Universitária de Cardiologia, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Introduction: Electrical pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is used for the invasive treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF). However, despite the procedure's technical evolution, the rate of AF recurrence due to electrical reconnection of the PVs is high. The aims of this study was to assess the influence of left common pulmonary venous ostium (LCO) on clinical outcomes following PVI.

Methods: Retrospective cohort of 254 patients who underwent the first procedure of PVI from the years 2013-2018 was assessed. Patients with persistent AF of long duration and extra-pulmonary focus associated with triggers for arrhythmia were excluded. Patients were stratified into two groups according to the presence of a LCO and received follow up for atrial tachyarrhythmia-free survival. The mean follow-up period was 28 ± 1.73 months.

Results: The majority were men (68.5%), with a mean age of 54 ± 12 years. With respect to the atrial anatomy, LCO occurred in 23.6% of cases after pulmonary venous angiotomography. The arrhythmia-free survival rate was 79.5% in the follow-up period. The Cox regression model was utilized and the adjusted hazard ratio for LCO was 0.36 (95% CI 0.15-0.87; p = 0.02) in terms of age, body mass index, left atrium diameter, bi-directional blocking of the cavotricuspid isthmus, persistent AF, left ventricular ejection fraction adjusted model.

Conclusion: Anatomic abnormality with the presence of the LCO is present in a quarter of patients undergoing AF ablation, which is associated with a lower rate of arrhythmia recurrence in our population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ipej.2020.11.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952770PMC
November 2020

Cryoablation or Drug Therapy for Initial Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation.

N Engl J Med 2021 01 16;384(4):305-315. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

From Vancouver General Hospital (J.G.A., M.B.), the University of British Columbia (J.G.A., M.W.D., M.B., S.L.), and the Centre for Cardiovascular Innovation (J.G.A., M.W.D.), Vancouver, Montreal Heart Institute, Université de Montréal (J.G.A., L.M.) and McGill University Health Centre (V.E.), Montreal, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa (G.A.W.), Université Laval, Quebec, QC (J.C.), Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC (J.-F.R.), Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital, Scarborough, ON (D.Y.), Western University, London, ON (A.S.), Southlake Regional Health Centre, University of Toronto, Newmarket, ON (Y.K., A.V.), Libin Cardiovascular Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB (C.M.), St. Mary's General Hospital, Kitchener, ON (U.J.), Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, BC (P.N.), Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, AB (E.L.), McMaster University, Hamilton, ON (G.A.), St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto (P.A.), Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS (J.S.), and the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK (S.W.) - all in Canada.

Background: Guidelines recommend a trial of one or more antiarrhythmic drugs before catheter ablation is considered in patients with atrial fibrillation. However, first-line ablation may be more effective in maintaining sinus rhythm.

Methods: We randomly assigned 303 patients with symptomatic, paroxysmal, untreated atrial fibrillation to undergo catheter ablation with a cryothermy balloon or to receive antiarrhythmic drug therapy for initial rhythm control. All the patients received an implantable cardiac monitoring device to detect atrial tachyarrhythmia. The follow-up period was 12 months. The primary end point was the first documented recurrence of any atrial tachyarrhythmia (atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, or atrial tachycardia) between 91 and 365 days after catheter ablation or the initiation of an antiarrhythmic drug. The secondary end points included freedom from symptomatic arrhythmia, the atrial fibrillation burden, and quality of life.

Results: At 1 year, a recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmia had occurred in 66 of 154 patients (42.9%) assigned to undergo ablation and in 101 of 149 patients (67.8%) assigned to receive antiarrhythmic drugs (hazard ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35 to 0.66; P<0.001). Symptomatic atrial tachyarrhythmia had recurred in 11.0% of the patients who underwent ablation and in 26.2% of those who received antiarrhythmic drugs (hazard ratio, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.68). The median percentage of time in atrial fibrillation was 0% (interquartile range, 0 to 0.08) with ablation and 0.13% (interquartile range, 0 to 1.60) with antiarrhythmic drugs. Serious adverse events occurred in 5 patients (3.2%) who underwent ablation and in 6 patients (4.0%) who received antiarrhythmic drugs.

Conclusions: Among patients receiving initial treatment for symptomatic, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, there was a significantly lower rate of atrial fibrillation recurrence with catheter cryoballoon ablation than with antiarrhythmic drug therapy, as assessed by continuous cardiac rhythm monitoring. (Funded by the Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada and others; EARLY-AF ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02825979.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2029980DOI Listing
January 2021

Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Current and Evolving Indications.

Can J Cardiol 2020 10 24;36(10):1685-1689. Epub 2020 Jan 24.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Division of Cardiology, Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Catheter ablation (CA) was developed as a potentially curative procedure through electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins to isolate the main triggers of atrial fibrillation (AF). When successful, CA has clearly been shown to decrease AF recurrence and symptoms, and improve quality of life. With advancing technology, increased procedural success, and lower complication risk, CA is being used at much higher rates, with broader indications and in a diverse AF population. Symptomatic paroxysmal AF that is refractory to antiarrhythmic drugs is currently the indication for CA with the best evidence. CA for AF as first-line therapy is reserved for highly selected symptomatic patients with paroxysmal AF. Current studies have not shown an improvement in mortality or quality of life with CA as first-line therapy. In patients with persistent AF who are symptomatic despite medical therapy, CA is a reasonable therapeutic option. Although recent trials have suggested that CA reduced mortality and hospitalizations in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction, the evidence is not conclusive. Therefore, current guidelines recommend CA for similar indications to patients without heart failure, but large trials comparing CA with strict rate control will be reported in the near future. Ongoing studies will assess whether CA of AF reduces major adverse cardiovascular events and whether stopping anticoagulation in the long term is possible after CA. The purpose of this review is to outline the current and evolving indications for CA of AF and the underlying evidence supporting these indications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2020.01.012DOI Listing
October 2020

2020 Canadian Cardiovascular Society/Canadian Heart Rhythm Society Position Statement on the Management of Ventricular Tachycardia and Fibrillation in Patients With Structural Heart Disease.

Can J Cardiol 2020 06;36(6):822-836

Department of Medicine, QEII Health Sciences Centre and Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

This Canadian Cardiovascular Society position statement is focused on the management of sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF) that occurs in patients with structural heart disease (SHD), including previous myocardial infarction, dilated cardiomyopathy, and other forms of nonischemic cardiomyopathy. This patient population is rapidly increasing because of advances in care and improved overall survival of patients with all forms of SHD. In this position statement, the acute and long-term management of VT/VF are outlined, and the many unique aspects of care in this population are emphasized. The initial evaluation, acute therapy, indications for chronic suppressive therapy, choices of chronic suppressive therapy, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator programming, alternative therapies, and psychosocial care are reviewed and recommendations for optimal care are provided. The target audience for this statement includes all health professionals involved in the continuum of care of patients with SHD and VT/VF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2020.04.004DOI Listing
June 2020

Relationship between quality of life and burden of recurrent atrial fibrillation following ablation: CAPCOST multicentre cohort study.

Europace 2020 07;22(7):1017-1025

Southlake Regional Health Centre, 602-581 Davis Drive, Newmarket, ON L3Y 2P6, Canada.

Aims: Atrial fibrillation (AF) significantly impairs patients' quality of life (QOL). We performed this study to investigate the effect of AF-ablation success and atrial fibrillation burden (AFB) on QOL measures.

Methods And Results: Overall, 230 patients with paroxysmal AF refractory to antiarrhythmic drugs were enrolled and underwent ablation in a multicentre, prospective cohort. Electrocardiogram, 48-h Holter, Canadian Cardiovascular Society Severity of Atrial Fibrillation (CCS-SAF), short form-12 (SF-12), and Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality of life (AFEQT) scales were used to assess patients. Atrial fibrillation burden was defined as total duration of AF during the month prior to each visit (h/month). The change in AFB was calculated as the difference between the month prior to the 12-month post-ablation and the baseline pre-ablation. The Minimal Clinically Important Difference (MCID) was considered as a 19-point change for AFEQT and 3-5-point change for SF-12 scores. There was significant rise in the AFEQT and SF12 and decrease in CCS-SAF score post-AF ablation; however, the magnitude of these changes was greater in patients without AF recurrence (P < 0.05). The QOL score that best differentiated patients with and without recurrence was AFEQT, while, CCS-SAF was the most specific score. Patients with AFB decrease >19 h/month had significantly greater change in QOL scores. Atrial fibrillation burden < 24 h/month at 12-months post-ablation was associated with significant changes in QOL and CCS-SAF when adjusting for baseline scores and other covariates. These changes were consistent with the MCID of these measures.

Conclusion: Patients experience significant improvements in QOL post-ablation, which correlate with a decrease in AFB despite ongoing brief recurrences of AF.

Clinical Trial Registration: NCT01562912. https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01562912? term=capcost&rank=1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa066DOI Listing
July 2020

Population-Level Sex Differences and Predictors for Treatment With Catheter Ablation in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure.

CJC Open 2020 May 12;2(3):85-93. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Research Institute McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: Current guidelines are relatively general regarding the type of patient with heart failure (HF) who should be considered for catheter ablation (CA) of atrial fibrillation (AF). The aim of the present study was to identify clinical predictors and sex differences for treatment with CA in the AF-HF population.

Methods: A population-based AF-HF cohort was created using the Quebec administrative data (2000-2017). Patients were followed from the date of diagnosis of both diseases to the date of CA or death. Predictors for CA, represented by time-varying covariates, were assessed in a multivariable Cox model that accounted for the competing risk of death.

Results: Among 101,931 patients with AF-HF with medication information (median age, 80.7 years; interquartile range [IQR], 73.9-86.3; 51.4% were female, median CHADS-VASc, 4; IQR, 3-4), only 432 (0.4%) underwent CA after a median of 0.8 years (IQR, 0.1-2.7). Independent of multiple comorbidities and advanced age, which were associated with a lower likelihood of CA, women were approximately half as likely to undergo a CA (26% were women; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.6; 95% confidence interval, 0.4-0.7). Prior use of direct-acting oral anticoagulants and antiarrhythmics, and the presence of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator were also predictors for CA treatment ( < 0.05 for all).

Conclusion: In a real-world population, CA was infrequently used to treat AF among patients with HF, and the likelihood of CA was further reduced in women. Because patients with CA had few comorbidities, future studies need to be conducted to determine whether CA can be beneficial in subjects whose clinical characteristics are more representative of the AF-HF population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjco.2020.01.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7242511PMC
May 2020

Long-term effectiveness of catheter ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

Europace 2020 05;22(5):739-747

Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada.

Aims: Randomized trials suggest reductions in all-cause mortality and heart failure (HF) rehospitalizations with catheter ablation (CA) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and HF. Whether these results can be replicated in a real-world population with long-term follow-up or varies over time is unknown. We sought to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of CA in reducing the incidence of all-cause mortality, HF hospitalizations, stroke, and major bleeding in AF-HF patients.

Methods And Results: In a cohort of patients newly diagnosed with AF-HF in Quebec, Canada (2000-2017), CA patients were matched 1:2 to controls on time and frequency of hospitalizations. Confounders were controlled for using inverse probability of treatment weighting. Multivariable Cox models adjusted for the presence of cardiac electronic implantable devices and medication use during follow-up, and the effect of time since CA was modelled with B-splines. For non-fatal outcomes, the Lunn-McNeil approach was used to account for the competing risk of death. Among 101 933 AF-HF patients, 451 underwent CA and were matched to 899 controls. Over a median follow-up of 3.8 years, CA was associated with a statistically significant reduction in all-cause mortality [hazard ratio 0.4 (95% confidence interval 0.2-0.7)], but no difference in stroke or major bleeding. The hazard of HF rehospitalization for CA patients, relative to non-CA patients, varied with time since CA (P = 0.01), with a reduction in HF rehospitalizations until approximately 3 years post-CA.

Conclusion: Compared with matched non-CA patients, CA was associated with a long-term reduction in all-cause mortality and a reduction in HF rehospitalizations until 3 years post-CA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7203635PMC
May 2020

Mortality Risk Increases With Clustered Ventricular Arrhythmias in Patients With Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 03 29;6(3):327-337. Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Division of Cardiology, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Objectives: This study sought to examine the adverse prognosis associated with ventricular arrhythmia clusters that falls outside the current electrical storm definition.

Background: Electrical storm is most frequently defined as a cluster of ≥3 episodes of ventricular arrhythmia (VA) in a 24-h period. This definition has been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and mortality, but the effect of lesser and greater clustering of arrhythmias has not been described.

Methods: Among all patients in the Resynchronization in Ambulatory Heart Failure trial, 14,515 implantable cardioverter-defibrillator-detected events with data available were rigorously adjudicated in blinded fashion. Arrhythmia incidence was examined for clustering, defined as 2 or more VA events occurring within 3 months. The prognostic importance of clustering was analyzed by varying the cluster length and number of events used to define a cluster. Mortality rates of groups with clustered arrhythmias were compared to patients with no arrhythmia or with unclustered arrhythmia.

Results: The trial included 1,764 patients, among whom 465 patients had two or more VA episodes within 3 months, whereas 406 had unclustered arrhythmias. Compared to patients with no arrhythmia, patients experiencing unclustered VA had increased risk of death (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09 to 1.93; p = 0.011), whereas the risk was even higher in patients with clustered arrhythmia (HR: 2.68; 95% CI: 2.13 to 3.36; p < 0.0001). Mortality risk increased with higher VA burden (number of VAs in a cluster) and shorter cluster length. This was observed in all groups tested, including the cluster with the least VA burden in the longest cluster length tested (2 VA episodes occurring within 3 months) (mortality HR: 2.85; 95% CI: 1.95 to 4.17; p < 0.0001). Although clustered arrhythmias terminated with antitachycardia pacing were associated with increased mortality, clusters terminated with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator shocks were associated with still higher mortality risk.

Conclusions: Significant adverse prognostic association of clustered VAs is observable with even 2 VA events within 3 months and increases with higher cluster density.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2019.11.012DOI Listing
March 2020

Optimization of Chronic Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Using Fusion Pacing Algorithm Improves Echocardiographic Response.

CJC Open 2020 Mar 21;2(2):62-70. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: Whether reprogramming of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) to increase electrical synchrony translates into echocardiographic improvement remains unclear. SyncAV is an algorithm that allows fusion of intrinsic conduction with biventricular pacing. We aimed to assess whether reprogramming chronically implanted CRT devices with SyncAV is associated with improved echocardiographic parameters.

Methods: Patients at a quaternary center with previously implanted CRT devices with a programmable SyncAV algorithm underwent routine electrocardiography-based SyncAV optimization during regular device clinic visits. This analysis included only patients who could be programmed to the SyncAV algorithm (i.e., in sinus rhythm with intrinsic atrioventricular conduction). Echocardiography was performed before and 6 months after CRT optimization.

Results: Of 64 consecutive, potentially eligible patients who underwent assessment, 34 who were able to undergo SyncAV programming were included. Their mean age was 74 ± 9 years, 41% were female, and 59% had ischemic cardiomyopathy. The mean time from CRT implant to SyncAV optimization was 17.8 ± 8.5 months. At 6-month follow-up, SyncAV optimization was associated with a significant increase in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (mean LVEF 36.5% ± 13.3% vs 30.9% ± 13.3%; < 0.001) and a reduction in left ventricular end-systolic volume (LVESV) (mean LVESV 110.5 ± 57.5 mL vs 89.6 ± 52.4 mL; < 0.001) compared with baseline existing CRT programming.

Conclusion: CRT reprogramming to maximize biventricular fusion pacing significantly increased LVEF and reduced LVESV in patients with chronic CRT devices. Further studies are needed to assess if a continuous fusion pacing algorithm improves long-term clinical outcomes and to identify which patients are most likely to derive benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjco.2019.12.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7067690PMC
March 2020

Incidence and Predictors of Intracardiac Thrombus on Pre-electrophysiological Procedure Transesophageal Echocardiography.

CJC Open 2019 Sep 2;1(5):231-237. Epub 2019 Jul 2.

McGill University Health Center, Division of Cardiology, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: Cerebral thromboembolism is a potentially devastating complication of atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFl). The use of transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) before electrophysiological procedures in anticoagulated patients is variable. Our objective was to determine the incidence and identify predictors of intracardiac left atrial appendage (LAA) thrombus on TEE in patients with AF/AFl before electrical cardioversion or ablation.

Methods: We reviewed TEEs of 401 patients undergoing an electrical cardioversion, AF, or AFl ablation from April 2013 to September 2015 at the McGill University Health Center. Clinical and echocardiographic variables were collected at the time of the TEE and follow-up visits. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine predictors of LAA thrombus.

Results: Of 401 patients, 11.2% had LAA thrombus on TEE. The majority (87%) of patients were anticoagulated for at least 3 weeks before the TEE. The incidence of LAA thrombus was 21% (23/110) in patients taking warfarin vs 6.4% (15/236) in patients taking direct oral anticoagulants. Multivariate analysis identified prior stroke (odds ratio [OR], 2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-6.9) and heart failure (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.0-4.7) as predictors of thrombus, whereas direct oral anticoagulant use (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-0.8) was associated with reduced odds of thrombus.

Conclusions: LAA thrombus was identified in a significant proportion of patients undergoing TEE before cardioversion or ablation of AF/AFl despite preprocedural anticoagulation. Patients at increased risk of LAA thrombus (heart failure and prior stroke) may benefit from TEE before cardioversion, AF, or AFl ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjco.2019.06.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7063624PMC
September 2019

Long-term outcomes of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation: It's a matter of time.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 05 6;31(5):1048-1050. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Research Institute of McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14428DOI Listing
May 2020

Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events Associated With Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation After Noncardiac Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2020 01 16;13(1):e007437. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Division of Cardiology (A.A., V.E., T.H.), McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Background: Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is a frequent occurrence after noncardiac surgery. It remains unclear whether POAF is associated with an increased risk of major adverse events. We aimed to elucidate the risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, and death associated with POAF following noncardiac surgery by a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies and observational studies.

Methods: We searched electronic databases from inception up to August 1, 2019 for all studies that reported stroke or myocardial infarction in adult patients who developed POAF following noncardiac surgery. We used random-effects models to summarize the studies.

Results: The final analyses included 28 studies enrolling 2 612 816 patients. At 1-month (10 studies), POAF was associated with an ≈3-fold increase in the risk of stroke (weighted mean 2.1% versus 0.7%; odds ratio [OR], 2.82 [95% CI, 2.15-3.70]; <0.001). POAF was associated with ≈4-fold increase in the long-term risk of stroke with (weighted mean, 2.0% versus 0.6%; OR, 4.12 [95% CI, 3.32-5.11]; ≤0.001) in 8 studies with ≥12-month follow-up. There was a significant overall increase in the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction associated with POAF (weighted mean, 2.5% versus 0.9%; OR, 3.44 [95% CI, 2.38-4.98]; <0.001) and (weighted mean, 12.6% versus 2.7%; OR, 4.02 [95% CI, 3.08-5.24]; <0.001), respectively. Furthermore, POAF was associated with a 3-fold increase in all-cause mortality at 30 days (weighted mean, 15.0% versus 5.4%; OR, 3.36 [95% CI, 2.13-5.31]; <0.001).

Conclusions: POAF was associated with markedly higher risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, and all-cause mortality following noncardiac surgery. Future studies are needed to evaluate the impact of optimal cardiovascular pharmacotherapies to prevent POAF and to decrease the risk of major adverse events in these high-risk patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.119.007437DOI Listing
January 2020

Risk Factors for Infections Involving Cardiac Implanted Electronic Devices.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2019 12;74(23):2845-2854

Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Division of Cardiology, St. Michael Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Cardiac implantable electronic device infection is a major complication that usually requires device removal. PADIT (Prevention of Arrhythmia Device Infection Trial) was a large cluster crossover trial of conventional versus incremental antibiotics.

Objectives: This study sought to investigate independent predictors of device infection in PADIT and develop a novel infection risk score.

Methods: In brief, over 4 6-month periods, 28 centers used either conventional or incremental prophylactic antibiotic treatment in all patients. The primary outcome was hospitalization for device infection within 1 year (blinded endpoint adjudication). Multivariable logistic prediction modeling was used to identify the independent predictors and develop a risk score for device infection. The prediction models were internally validated with bootstrap methods.

Results: Device procedures were performed in 19,603 patients, and hospitalization for infection occurred in 177 (0.90%) within 1 year of follow-up. The final prediction model identified 5 independent predictors of device infection (prior procedures [P], age [A], depressed renal function [D], immunocompromised [I], and procedure type [T]) with an optimism-corrected C-statistic of 0.704 (95% confidence interval: 0.660 to 0.744). A PADIT risk score ranging from 0 to 15 points classified patients into low (0 to 4), intermediate (5 to 6) and high (≥7) risk groups with rates of hospitalization for infection of 0.51%, 1.42%, and 3.41%, respectively.

Conclusions: This study identified 5 independent predictors of device infection and developed a novel infection risk score in the largest cardiac implantable electronic device trial to date, warranting validation in an independent cohort. The 5 independent predictors in the PADIT score are readily adopted into clinical practice. (Prevention of Arrhythmia Device Infection Trial [PADIT Pilot]; NCT01002911).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.09.060DOI Listing
December 2019

The use of adenosine to identify dormant conduction after accessory pathway ablation: a single center experience and literature review.

Am J Cardiovasc Dis 2019 15;9(5):84-90. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center Montreal, Canada.

Introduction: Atrio-ventricular reentrant tachycardias (AVRT) represent around 40 percent of supraventricular tachycardias. After ablation, recurrence rates are around 10 percent. Adenosine has been described as a useful tool to assess presence of dormant conduction and predict recurrence after apparently successful ablation. We reviewed the patients of our service and assessed the role of adenosine in predicting dormant conduction and factors that could influence recurrence rates.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed electrophysiologic studies and medical charts of 65 patients who had AVRT ablation and had adenosine used to assess dormant conduction at a single quaternary center between 2011 and 2015. Dormant conduction was defined as transient recovery of the preexcitation (for pathways with antegrade conduction) or return of the retrograde conduction through an apparently successfully ablated concealed accessory pathway (AP).

Results: One patient was found to have dormant conduction (1.5%) with early recurrence that was not further ablated due to the difficult location of the AP. The overall recurrence rate was 4.6%. General features like location of AP's, their properties, ablation times and technique were assessed.

Conclusion: Similar to its use in identifying other arrhythmias, adenosine may be useful in identifying dormant conduction for further ablation during initial ablation of an accessory pathway; however, the absence of dormant conduction on adenosine testing does not reliably predict non-recurrence. The low recurrence rates in our service may be related to the frequent use of irrigated tip catheters, 3D mapping and long average ablation time over the successful site of ablation.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6872466PMC
October 2019

Effect of Direct Oral Anticoagulants, Warfarin, and Antiplatelet Agents on Risk of Device Pocket Hematoma: Combined Analysis of BRUISE CONTROL 1 and 2.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2019 10 15;12(10):e007545. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, ON, Canada (P.B.N., G.A.W., D.H.B.).

Background: Oral anticoagulant use is common among patients undergoing pacemaker or defibrillator surgery. BRUISE CONTROL (Bridge or Continue Coumadin for Device Surgery Randomized Controlled Trial; NCT00800137) demonstrated that perioperative warfarin continuation reduced clinically significant hematomas (CSH) by 80% compared with heparin bridging (3.5% versus 16%). BRUISE-CONTROL-2 (NCT01675076) observed a similarly low risk of CSH when comparing continued versus interrupted direct oral anticoagulant (2.1% in both groups). Using patient level data from both trials, the current study aims to: (1) evaluate the effect of concomitant antiplatelet therapy on CSH, and (2) understand the relative risk of CSH in patients treated with direct oral anticoagulant versus continued warfarin.

Methods: We analyzed 1343 patients included in BRUISE-CONTROL-1 and BRUISE-CONTROL-2. The primary outcome for both trials was CSH. There were 408 patients identified as having continued either a single or dual antiplatelet agent at the time of device surgery.

Results: Antiplatelet use (versus nonuse) was associated with CSH in 9.8% versus 4.3% of patients (<0.001), and remained a strong independent predictor after multivariable adjustment (odds ratio, 1.965; 95% CI, 1.202-3.213; =0.0071). In multivariable analysis, adjusting for antiplatelet use, there was no significant difference in CSH observed between direct oral anticoagulant use compared with continued warfarin (odds ratio, 0.858; 95% CI, 0.375-1.963; =0.717).

Conclusions: Concomitant antiplatelet therapy doubled the risk of CSH during device surgery. No difference in CSH was found between direct oral anticoagulant versus continued warfarin. In anticoagulated patients undergoing elective or semi-urgent device surgery, the patient specific benefit/risk of holding an antiplatelet should be carefully considered.

Clinical Trial Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifiers: NCT00800137, NCT01675076.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.119.007545DOI Listing
October 2019

Sustained quality-of-life improvement post-cryoballoon ablation in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Results from the STOP-AF Post-Approval Study.

Heart Rhythm 2020 03 10;17(3):485-491. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Background: Pulmonary vein isolation by catheter ablation is a class IA indication for the treatment of symptomatic, drug-refractory, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF). Quality of life (QoL) has been identified as a clinically meaningful endpoint but has not been comprehensively evaluated to date.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of cryoballoon ablation on long-term QoL.

Methods: As part of the STOP-AF Post-Approval Study, QoL was assessed using the Short Form-12 Health Survey (SF-12) along with evaluation of arrhythmia-related symptoms through 36 months. A multivariate linear mixed effects regression was used to determine the association between atrial fibrillation symptoms and QoL scores, and univariate linear regressions were used to assess predictors of 36-month change in QoL scores.

Results: Three hundred thirty-five subjects fully completed SF-12 forms at baseline, with 319, 308, 291, and 278 subjects completing surveys at the subsequent follow-up visits. Both physical and mental composite scores increased significantly from baseline (P <.001), and all arrhythmia symptoms significantly decreased from baseline (P <.001), with 62.0% of subjects reporting no symptoms at 6 months compared to 5.7% at baseline (P <.001). Presence of dyspnea and fatigue at baseline were univariate predictors of physical QoL improvement (P = .045 and 0.0497, respectively), whereas each year of age and each year of PAF duration were predictors of a decrease in mental QoL (P = .014 and .04, respectively).

Conclusion: Cryoballoon ablation for treatment of PAF results in a significant, and sustained, QoL improvement. The observed improvement in physical and mental health likely may be mediated by a reduction in symptom and arrhythmia burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2019.10.014DOI Listing
March 2020

Population-level evaluation of complications after catheter ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2019 12 14;30(12):2678-2685. Epub 2019 Oct 14.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Introduction: Catheter ablation (CA) has been increasingly used to treat atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with heart failure (HF), however, its safety at the population-level has not yet been evaluated. To assess the safety of CA in AF-HF patients, the frequency and potential risk factors for adverse events (AEs) within 30 days post-CA were determined.

Methods: A population-based cohort of AF-HF patients who underwent CA in Quebec, Canada (2000-2017) was constructed using administrative databases. Major AEs included all-cause mortality, cerebrovascular accident (CVA), pericardial effusion requiring drainage (PERD), vascular AEs, hemorrhage/hematoma, and pulmonary embolism. Univariate logistic regression models were employed to assess potential risk factors for major AEs.

Results: Of 700 AF-HF patients who underwent CA (median age 64.5 years [interquartile range, IQR, 56.2-71.0], 22.0% female, and median CHA DS -Vasc 3 [IQR, 2-4]), 14 (2.0%) patients developed 16 major AEs within 30 days of CA. Hemorrhage/hematoma was the most frequent major AE (four patients; 0.6%) followed by all-cause mortality, CVA/TIA, PERD, and vascular AEs (three patients each; 0.4%). Coronary artery disease (odds ratio [OR], 3.9 [95% confidence interval, CI, 1.2-12.3]) and age ≥65 years (OR, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.1-9.8]) were identified predictors for the composite outcome of major AEs. More than half of the patients (57.2%) underwent a second CA within a median of 0.8 (IQR, 0.2-2.2) years from the date of first CA.

Conclusion: CA performed in the AF-HF population portends a relatively low incidence of major AEs. A larger study is required to determine whether certain patient factors are independently associated with a higher risk of post-CA AEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14202DOI Listing
December 2019

Subclinical Atrial Fibrillation and Risk of Stroke: Past, Present and Future.

Medicina (Kaunas) 2019 Sep 20;55(10). Epub 2019 Sep 20.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC H3G1A4, Canada.

Subclinical atrial fibrillation (SCAF) describes asymptomatic episodes of atrial fibrillation (AF) that are detected by cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIED). The increased utilization of CIEDs renders our understanding of SCAF important to clinical practice. Furthermore, 20% of AF present initially as a stroke event and prolonged cardiac monitoring of stroke patients is likely to uncover a significant prevalence of SCAF. New evidence has shown that implanting cardiac monitors into patients with no history of atrial fibrillation but with risk factors for stroke will yield an incidence of SCAF approaching 30-40% at around three years. Atrial high rate episodes lasting longer than five minutes are likely to represent SCAF. SCAF has been associated with an increased risk of stroke that is particularly significant when episodes of SCAF are greater than 23 h in duration. Longer episodes of SCAF are incrementally more likely to progress to episodes of SCAF >23 h as time progresses. While only around 30-40% of SCAF events are temporally related to stroke events, the presence of SCAF likely represents an important risk marker for stroke. Ongoing trials of anticoagulation in patients with SCAF durations less than 24 h will inform clinical practice and are highly anticipated. Further studies are needed to clarify the association between SCAF and clinical outcomes as well as the factors that modify this association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/medicina55100611DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6843329PMC
September 2019

Blinded Randomized Trial of Anticoagulation to Prevent Ischemic Stroke and Neurocognitive Impairment in Atrial Fibrillation (BRAIN-AF): Methods and Design.

Can J Cardiol 2019 08 7;35(8):1069-1077. Epub 2019 May 7.

Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Background: Compelling evidence showing a link between atrial fibrillation (AF) and cognitive decline and dementia is accumulating.

Methods: Blinded Randomized Trial of Anticoagulation to Prevent Ischemic Stroke and Neurocognitive Impairment in Atrial Fibrillation (BRAIN-AF) is a prospective, multicentric, double-blind, randomized-controlled trial, recruiting patients with nonvalvular AF and a low risk of stroke. Patients with a high risk of bleeding will be excluded from the study. Participants will be randomized to receive either rivaroxaban (15 mg daily) or standard of care (placebo in patients without vascular disease or acetylsalicylic acid 100 mg daily in patients with vascular disease).

Results: The primary outcome is the composite of stroke, transient ischemic attack, and cognitive decline (defined by a decrease in the Montreal Cognitive Assessment score ≥ 3 at any follow-up visit after baseline). Approximately 3250 patients will be enrolled in approximately 130 clinical sites until 609 adjudicated primary outcome events have occurred.

Conclusions: BRAIN-AF determines whether oral anticoagulation therapy with rivaroxaban compared with standard of care reduces the risk of stroke, transient ischemic attack, or cognitive decline in patients with nonvalvular AF and a low risk of stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2019.04.022DOI Listing
August 2019

Cardiac resynchronization therapy reprogramming to improve electrical synchrony in patients with existing devices.

J Electrocardiol 2019 Sep - Oct;56:94-99. Epub 2019 Jul 16.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Optimal programming of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) has not yet been fully elucidated. A novel algorithm (SyncAV) has been developed to improve electrical synchrony by fusion of the triple wavefronts: intrinsic, right ventricular (RV)-paced, and left ventricular (LV)-paced.

Methods: Consecutive patients at a single tertiary care center with a previously implanted CRT device with SyncAV algorithm (programmable negative AV hysteresis) were evaluated. QRS duration (QRSd) was measured during 1) intrinsic conduction, 2) existing CRT pacing as chronically programmed by treating physician, 3) using the device-based QuickOpt™ algorithm for optimization of AV and VV delays, and 4) ECG-based optimized SyncAV programming. The paced QRSd was assessed and compared to intrinsic conduction and between the different modes of programming.

Results: Of 64 consecutive, potentially eligible patients who underwent assessment, 34 patients who were able to undergo SyncAV programming were included. Mean intrinsic conduction QRSd was 163 ± 24 ms. In comparison, the mean QRSd was 152 ± 25 ms (-11.1 ± 19.0) during existing CRT pacing, 160 ± 25 ms (-4.1 ± 25.2) using the QuickOpt™ algorithm and 138 ± 23 (-24.9 ± 17.2) using ECG-based optimized SyncAV programming. SyncAV optimization resulted in significant reductions in QRSd compared to existing CRT pacing (P = 0.02) and QuickOpt™ (P < 0.001). Of the 32% of patients who did not have QRS narrowing with existing CRT, 72% experienced QRS narrowing with SyncAV.

Conclusion: ECG-based atrio-ventricular delay optimization using SyncAV significantly improved electrical synchrony in patients with a previously implanted CRT. Further studies are needed to assess the impact on long-term outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2019.07.008DOI Listing
July 2019

Comparison of efficacy of phased multipolar versus traditional radiofrequency ablation: A prospective, multicenter study (CAPCOST).

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2019 07 14;42(7):942-950. Epub 2019 Jun 14.

Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Multipolar phased pulmonary vein ablation catheter (PVAC), specifically its second-generation (PVAC-Gold), has been associated with reduced procedural time for atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation compared to traditional catheters. We performed this study to compare the efficacy of PVAC with point-by-point radiofrequency (RF) ablation.

Methods: This is a multicenter-cohort study (2012-2017), involving patients with symptomatic, paroxysmal AF refractory to at least one antiarrhythmic medication. Overall, 230 patients were enrolled to (A) PVAC and (B) control groups. Subanalyses were done for ablations performed with PVAC-Gold, and for ablations performed without left atrial (LA) ablation in addition to pulmonary vein isolation. Electrocardiogram and 48-h Holter monitoring were used to assess patients at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months postablation. Recurrence was defined as any atrial arrhythmia >30 s excluding an initial 3-month blanking period.

Results: Freedom from any atrial arrhythmia at 12 months postablation was 35.70% and 52.80% in groups A and B, respectively (P = .01). Freedom from atrial arrhythmia was not significantly different when limiting the PVAC cohort to PVAC-Gold and excluding patients with additional LA ablation (A: 44.30%; B: 44.30%, P = .80). Procedural and ablation time was significantly lower in group A than B. Multivariate regression model showed female gender (odds ratio [OR] = 2.90) and recurrence during blanking period (OR = 6.60) as significant predictors of recurrence.

Conclusion: This study suggests that PVAC may achieve less freedom from AF than point-by-point RF; however, efficacy is similar when comparing PVAC-Gold and point-by-point stand-alone PV isolation. PVAC is associated with significantly reduced procedural times for AF ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pace.13737DOI Listing
July 2019

Concomitant anti-platelet therapy in warfarin-treated patients undergoing cardiac rhythm device implantation: A secondary analysis of the BRUISE CONTROL trial.

Int J Cardiol 2019 08 26;288:87-93. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Anti-platelet therapy is commonly used in patients receiving oral anticoagulation and may increase bleeding risk among patients undergoing cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) surgery. We sought to determine the proportion of anticoagulated patients who are concomitantly receiving anti-platelet therapy, the associated risk of clinically significant hematoma (CSH), and the proportion of patients in whom anti-platelet usage is guideline-indicated.

Methods: A secondary analysis of the Bridge or Continue Coumadin for Device Surgery Randomized Controlled Trial (BRUISE CONTROL). Patients who were receiving warfarin, had an annual predicted risk of thromboembolism of ≥5% and were scheduled to undergo non-emergent CIED surgery were randomized to continued warfarin versus heparin bridging. In the current analysis, patients were divided into those receiving anti-platelet therapy and those not receiving anti-platelet therapy. The incidence of CSH was compared in both groups. The proportion of patients on potentially inappropriate and potentially interruptible antiplatelet therapy was estimated.

Results: All 681 patients enrolled in BRUISE CONTROL were included, of whom 280 received and 401 did not receive anti-platelet therapy. Anti-platelet therapy increased the risk of CSH (relative risk, 1.72; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09 to 2.72; P = 0.02). Of the 280 patients receiving anti-platelet therapy, 97 (34.6%) had no guideline indication for concomitant anti-platelet therapy and an additional 146 (52.1%) were on anti-platelet therapy that could potentially have been interrupted around CIED surgery.

Conclusions: Concomitant anti-platelet therapy in patients receiving anticoagulation is associated with a significant risk of CSH. The majority of concomitant anti-platelet therapy is potentially inappropriate or interruptible.

Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: (NCT00800137).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2019.04.066DOI Listing
August 2019

Coronary sinus cannulation predicts atrioventricular nodal reentry as mechanism of supraventricular tachycardia.

Indian Pacing Electrophysiol J 2019 Sep - Oct;19(5):178-182. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

Electrophysiology Department of the Instituto de Cardiologia do Rio Grande do Sul / Fundação Universitária de Cardiologia, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Introduction: Common clinical teaching, for invasive electrophysiology, is that if the first year fellow cannulates the coronary sinus (CS) in his first attempt, the arrhythmia is more likely to be atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia (AVNRT). This general perception has not yet been clinically tested. We evaluated this theory in prospective patients undergoing an electrophysiological study (EPS) for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT).

Methods: Cohort study. CS ease of cannulation (CSCS) was graded as: 1) 1st year fellow cannulates in first attempt; 2) 1st year fellow needs more than one attempt or maneuver to cannulate the CS; 3) staff physician cannulates in first attempt after the fellow was unsuccessful; 4) staff physician requires more than one maneuver to cannulate the CS; 5) staff physician judges that the cannulation process was extremely difficult.

Results: Of the 1361 patients undergoing EPS in our institution, 165 were selected. Age was 49 ± 15 years. AVNRT occurred in 77.6%, atrioventricular reentry tachycardia (AVRT) in 15.1% and atrial tachycardia (AT) in 7.3% of cases. The CSCS = 1 was more prevalent in AVNRT, 89% versus 68% AVRT and 58.3% of AT (P = 0.0005). Patients with CSCS = 1 have a higher chance of the PSVT being AVNRT (odds ratio: 4.41; 95CI: 1.84-10.56; P = 0.0009).

Conclusion: The CSCS predicts the likelihood of the induced PSVT being AVNRT as compared to AVRT and AT. More studies are required to try to associate this finding to clinical patient characteristics to create a score for PSVT mechanism prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ipej.2019.04.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823669PMC
April 2019

Anti-arrhythmic drug therapy in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator recipients.

Pharmacol Res 2019 05 23;143:133-142. Epub 2019 Mar 23.

Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, Quebec, Canada; Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) have revolutionized the primary and secondary prevention of patients with ventricular arrhythmias. However, the adverse effects of appropriate or inappropriate shocks may require the adjunctive use of anti-arrhythmic drugs (AADs). Beta blockers are the cornerstone of pharmacological primary and secondary prevention of ventricular arrhythmias. In addition to their established efficacy at reducing the incidence of ventricular arrhythmias, beta-blockers are safe with few side effects. Amiodarone is superior to beta blockers and sotalol for the prevention of ventricular arrhythmia recurrence. However, long-term amiodarone use is associated with significant side effects that limit its utility. Sotalol and mexiletine are the main alternatives to amiodarone with a better side effect profile though they are less efficacious at preventing ventricular arrhythmia recurrence. Dofetilide, azimilide and ranolazine are emerging as therapeutic options for secondary prevention; more studies are needed to assess efficacy and safety in comparison to currently used agents. Beta blockers and amiodarone are the mainstay of therapy in patients experiencing electrical storm; their use reduces the frequency of ventricular arrhythmias and ICD intervention as well as affording time until catheter ablation can be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2019.03.020DOI Listing
May 2019

Long-Term Outcomes After Ablation for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Using the Second-Generation Cryoballoon: Final Results From STOP AF Post-Approval Study.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2019 03 26;5(3):306-314. Epub 2018 Dec 26.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Objectives: STOP AF PAS (Sustained Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Post-Approval Study) is the first prospective, multicenter, 3-year study in North America to assess long-term safety and effectiveness of the cryoballoon for treatment of patients with drug-refractory symptomatic pAF.

Background: The STOP AF PAS was required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at the time of approval of the first-generation cryoballoon for the treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (pAF). The second-generation cryoballoon (CB2) was commercially released shortly after this trial was initiated.

Methods: The study was nonrandomized. Enrollment was completed with 344 eligible patients undergoing pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) using the CB2. Procedure-related safety and freedom from AF and symptomatic atrial flutter/atrial tachycardia through 3 years were determined. Documented atrial arrhythmias ≥30 s were considered treatment failures.

Results: Acute PVI was achieved in 99.3% (1,341 of 1,350) of veins. Mean follow-up was 34 ± 7 months. The rate of major complications was 5.8%, including a 3.2% rate of phrenic nerve injury, which resolved in all but 1 patient by 36 months. At 36 months, 11.7% of patients were prescribed antiarrhythmic agents, inclusive of "pill-in-the-pocket" administration. Freedom from AF was 81.6% at 12 months, 73.8% at 24 months, and 68.1% at 36 months. Freedom from AF and symptomatic atrial flutter/atrial tachycardia was 79.0% at 12 months, 70.8% at 24 months, and 64.1% at 36 months. Freedom from a repeat ablation procedure was 80.9% at 36 months.

Conclusions: PVI using the CB2 was an effective treatment for patients with pAF, with freedom from all atrial arrhythmias of 64% at 36 months. (Sustained Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Post-Approval Study [STOP AF PAS]; NCT01456949).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2018.11.006DOI Listing
March 2019