AIMS: Transcatheter radiofrequency ablation of the atrio-ventricular (AV) node followed by ventricular pacing has been shown to improve symptoms and quality of life of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). It is assumed that function improves, but this has been less well demonstrated. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term effect of AV node ablation and ventricular pacing on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in patients with permanent AF. METHODS AND RESULTS: All 12 patients studied had permanent AF for at least 12 months (mean age 70 years, range 41 to 78). LVEF was determined 6 days and 3 months after AV node ablation by radionuclide ventriculography, at a paced rate of 80 beats . min (-1). Cardiac dimensions were measured by means of transthoracic echocardiography. No major changes in pharmacological therapy were made during 3 months follow-up period. LVEF showed a significant deterioration after 3 months follow-up period for the group (47.5 +/- 14.4%; 6 days after ablation vs 43.2 +/- 13.7%; 3 months after ablation, P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in left ventricular cavity dimensions directly after AV node ablation and 3 months later (LVEDD 51.2 +/- 10.7 mm vs 52.6 +/- 8.6 mm, P = NS: LVESD: 36.1 +/- 14.2 mm vs 36.6 +/- 9.7 mm, P = NS). Left atrial size did not show reduction 3 months after AV node ablation (50.8 +/- 13.6 mm vs 51.0 +/- 14.1 mm, P = NS). CONCLUSION: The restoration of a regular ventricular rhythm following AV node ablation for patients in permanent AF does not result in improvement in left ventricular function.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Szili-Török, T, Kimman, G-J.P, Poldermans, D, Jordaens, L.J.L.M, Roelandt, J.R.T.C, & Theuns, D.A.M.J. (2002). Deterioration of left ventricular function following atrio-ventricular node ablation and right ventricular apical pacing in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation. Europace. Retrieved from