Control of ventricular rate by atrioventricular node ablation and pacemaker implantation in patients with drug-refractory atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with improved left ventricular (LV) function. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of atrioventricular node ablation on long-term survival in patients with AF and LV dysfunction. Survival was determined by the Kaplan-Meier method for 56 study patients with LV ejection fraction (EF) ≤40% who underwent atrioventricular node ablation and pacemaker implantation and 56 age- and gender-matched control patients with AF and LVEF >40%, and age- and gender-matched control subjects from Minnesota. Groups were compared using the log-rank test. In study patients (age 69 ± 10 years; 45 men), LVEF was 26% ± 8% and 34% ± 13% (p <0.001) before and after ablation, respectively. During follow-up (40 ± 23 months), 23 patients died. Observed survival was worse than that of normal subjects (p <0.001) and control patients (p = 0.005). After ablation, LVEF nearly normalized (≥45%) in 16 study patients (29%), in whom observed survival was comparable to that of normal subjects (p = 0.37). Coronary artery disease, hyperlipidemia, chronic renal failure, previous myocardial infarction, and coronary artery operation were independent predictors for mortality. Near normalization of LVEF occurred in 29% of study patients, suggesting that AF-induced EF reduction is reversible in many patients. Normal survival in patients with reversible LV dysfunction highlights potential survival benefits of rate control. Poor survival in patients with persistent LV dysfunction confirms the importance of optimal medical therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine