Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology May 2020 Issue


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Paul J. Wang:

Welcome to the monthly podcast, On the Beat for Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. I'm Dr. Paul Wang, Editor-in-Chief, with some of the key highlights from this month's issue. In our first paper, Bruce Wilkoff and associates examine the impact of cardiac implantable electronic device [CIED] infections on mortality, quality of life, healthcare utilization, and cost in the U.S. Healthcare system. They found that the majority CIED infection was associated with increased all-cause mortality, 12-month risk-adjusted hazard ratio 3.41, P < 0.001. An effect that sustained beyond 12 months.

The quality of life was reduced, P = 0.004, and did not normalize for six months. Disruptions in CIED therapy were observed in 36% of infections for a median duration of 184 days. The authors reported that the mean hospital costs were $55,547.

In our next paper, Songwen Chen, Xiaofeng Lu and associates examine the ability to eliminate premature ventricular complexes [PVCs] originating from the proximal left anterior fascicle, safely from the right coronary sinus. The authors mapped the the right coronary sinus and left ventricle in 20 patients with left anterior fascicle PVCs. They found that the earliest activation site with Purkinje potential during both PVC and sinus rhythm was localized at proximal left anterior fascicle in eight patients, the proximal group, or non-proximal left anterior fascicle in 12 groups, the non-proximal group. The Purkinje potentials proceeded PVC-QRS at the earliest activation site in proximal group 32.6 milliseconds was significantly earlier than that in non-proximal group, 28.3 milliseconds P = 0.025. Similar difference in the Purkinje potentials proceeding sinus QRS at the earliest activation site was also observed between proximal and non-proximal group, 35.1 milliseconds versus 25.2 milliseconds, P < 0.001.

In proximal group, the distance between the earliest activation site to the left His-bundle into the right coronary sinus were shorter than that of the non-proximal group 12.3 millimeters versus 19.7, P = 0.002, and 3.9 millimeters versus 15.7 millimeters, P < 0.001, respectively. The authors found no difference in the distance between the right coronary sinus to proximal left anterior fascicle between the two groups. PVCs were successfully eliminated from the right coronary sinus in all proximal group, but at left ventricular earliest activation site for the non-proximal group, the radiofrequency application time, ablation time and procedure time of non-proximal group were longer than that proximal group.

Electrocardiographic analysis showed that when compared to non-proximal group, the PVCs proximal group had a narrower QRS duration, smaller S wave in leads one, V five,and V six; lower R waves in leads one, aVL, aVR, V one, V two, and V four and smaller q wave in leads three and aVF. The QRS duration difference [PVC-QRS and sinus rhythm QRS] < 15 milliseconds predicted the proximal left anterior fascicle origin with high sensitivity and specificity.

In our next paper, Benjamin Steinberg and associates examined the factors that are associated with large improvements in health-related quality of life in patients with atrial fibrillation. The authors assessed factors associated with a one-year increase in quality of life, measured by AFEQT of one standard deviation that is greater and equal to 18 points, three times clinically important difference among patients in the ORBIT-AF one registry. They found that 28% of patients had such a health-related quality improvement compared with patients not showing large health-related quality of life improvement. They were similar age, (median 73 versus 74 years of age), equally likely to be female, (44% versus 48%), but more likely to have newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation [AF] at baseline (18% versus 8%, P = 0.0004) prior antiarrhythmic drug use (52% versus 40%, P = 0.005), baseline antiarrhythmic drug use (34.8% versus 26.8%, P = 0.045), and more likely to undergo AF related procedures during follow-up (AF ablation 6.6% versus 2.0%, cardioversion 12.2% versus 5.9%). In multivariate analysis, a history of alcohol abuse has a ratio 2.4 and increased baseline diastolic blood pressure has a ratio 1.23 per 10 point increase and greater than 65 millimeters of mercury were associated with large improvements in health-related quality of life at one year. Whereas patients with prior stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and peripheral artery disease were less likely to improve.

In our next paper, Eiichi Watanabe and associates studied safety and resource consumption of exclusive remote follow-up in pacemaker patients for two years. Consecutive pacemaker patients committed to remote pacemaker management were randomized to either remote follow-up or conventional in-office follow-up at twice yearly intervals.

Remote follow-up patients were only seen if indicated by remote monitoring, all returned to hospital after two years. In 1,274 randomized patients (50.4% female, age 77 years), 558 remote follow-up or 550 conventional in office follow-up patients reached either the primary end point or 24 months follow-up. The primary end point, a composite of death, stroke, or cardiovascular events requiring surgery occurred in 10.9% and 11.8% respectively in the two groups (P = 0.0012) for non-inferiority. The median number of in-office follow-ups was 0.5 in the remote follow-up group and 2.01 in the conventional in-office follow-up per patient year (P < 0.001). Only 1.4% of remote follow-ups triggered an unscheduled in-office follow-up, and only 1.5% of scheduled in-office follow-ups were considered actionable.

In our next paper, Sarah Strand and associates use fetal magnetocardiography from the University of Wisconsin biomagnetism laboratory to study 39 fetuses with pathogenic variants in long QT syndrome, LQTS genes. 27 carried the family variant, 11 had de novo variants, and one was indeterminant. De novo variants, especially de novo SCN5A variants were strongly associated with a severe rhythm phenotype and perinatal death. Nine or 82% showed signature LQTS rhythms, six showed torsade de pointes, five were still born, and 9% died in infancy. Those that died exhibited novel fetus rythms, including AV block with 3:1 conduction ratio, QRS alternans in 2:1 AV block, long cycle length, torsade de pointes, and slow monomorphic ventricular tachycardia. Premature ventricular contractions were also strongly associated with torsade de pointes and perinatal death. Fetuses with familiar variants showed a lower incidence of signature LQTS rhythm, six out of 27 or 22%, including torsade de pointes, and 3 out of 27 or 11% all were live born. The authors concluded that the malignancy of de novo LQTS variants was remarkably high and demonstrate that these mutations are a significant cause of stillbirth.

In our next paper, Corina Schram-Serban and associates compare the severity of extensiveness of conduction disorders between obese patients and non-obese patients measured at high resolution scale. They studied 212 patients undergoing cardiac surgery (male:161, mean 63 years of age), who underwent epicardial mapping of the right atrium, Bachmann's bundle, and left atrium during sinus rhythm. Conduction delay [CD] was defined as interelectrode conduction time seven to 11 milliseconds and conduction block [CB] as conduction time ≥ 12 milliseconds. In obese patients, the overall incidence of conduction delay was 3.1% versus 2.6% (P = 0.002), conduction block 1.8% versus 1.2%, and continuous CDCB 2.6% versus 1.9% higher in the obese patients, conduction delay (P = 0.012) and continuous CDCB lines are longer. There were more conduction disorders at Bachman's bundle, and this area has a higher incidence of conduction delay 4.4% versus 3.3% (P = 0.002), conduction block 3.1% versus 1.6% (P < 0.001), continuous conduction block conduction delay 4.6% versus 2.7% and longer conduction delay or conduction delay conduction block lines. Severity of conduction block is also higher, particularly in the Bachmann bundle and pulmonary vein areas. In addition, obese patients have a higher incidence of early de novo postoperative atrial fibrillation. Body mass index and the overall amount of conduction block were independent predictors for the incidents of early postoperative atrial fibrillation.

In our next paper, Ricardo Cardona-Guarache and associates describe five patients with concealed, left-sided nodoventricular in four patients and nodofascicular in one patient accessory pathways. They proved the participation of accessory pathway in tachycardia by delivering His-synchronous premature ventricular complexes that either delayed the subsequent atrial electrogram or terminated the tachycardia, and by observing an increase in ventricular atrial interval coincident with left bundle branch block in two patients. The accessory pathways were not atrioventricular pathways because the septal ventricular atrial interval during tachycardia was less than 70 milliseconds in 3, 1 had spontaneous AV dissociation, and in 1 the atria were dissociated from the circuit with atrial overdrive pacing.

Entrainment from the right ventricle showed ventricular fusion in 4 out of 5 cases. A left-sided origin of accessory pathways was suspected after failed ablation of the right inferior extension of the AV node in 3 cases and by observing VA increase in left bundle branch block in 2 cases. The nodofascicular in 3 of the 4 nodoventricular accessory pathways were successfully ablated from within the proximal coronary sinus guided by recorded potentials at the roof of the coronary sinus, and nodoventricular accessory pathway was ablated via a transseptal approach near the coronary sinus os.

In our next paper, Pierre Qian and associates examined whether an open irrigated microwave catheter ablation can achieve deep myocardial lesions endocardially and epicardially through fat while acutely sparing nearby coronary arteries. Epicardial ablations via subxiphoid access in pigs were performed at 90 to 100 Watts at four minutes at sites near coronary arteries and produced mean lesion depth of 10 millimeters, width 18 millimeters, and length 29 millimeters through median epicardial fat thickness of 1.2 millimeters. Endocardial ablations at 180 Watts achieved depths of 10.7 millimeters, width of 16.6 millimeters, and length of 20 millimeters. Acute coronary occlusion or spasm was not observed at median separation distance of 2.7 millimeters.

In our next paper, Jad Ballout and associates examined 21 consecutive patients with cardiogenic shock and refractory ventricular arrhythmias undergoing bailout ablation due to inability to wean off of mechanical support. Mean age was 61 years, 86% were males, median left ventricular injection fraction 20%, 81% ischemic cardiomyopathy. The type of mechanical support in place prior to the procedure was intra-aortic balloon pump in 14 patients, Impella in 2, ECMO in 2, ECMO and intra-aortic balloon pump in 2, and ECMO and Impella in 1. In the cardio voltage maps with myocardial scar in 90% (19 patients), the clinical ventricular tachycardias VTs were inducible in 13% (62 patients), whereas 6 patients had PVC induced ventricular fibrillation, VT (29%), and VT could not be induced in 2 patients (9%). Activation mapping was possible in all 13 patients with inducible clinical VTs, substrate modification was performed in 15 patients with scar in 79%. After ablation and scar modification, the arrhythmia was noninducible in 19 patients (91%). Seventeen (81%) were eventually weaned off mechanical support successfully with the majority of patients being discharged home and surviving beyond one year. However, 6 (29%) died during the index admission with persistent cardiogenic shock.

In a research letter, Parveen Garg and associates examined the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis [MESA] incident atrial fibrillation a population with 50% African-American or Hispanic. After adjusting for age, race, ethnicity, sex education, income, clinic site, height, body, mass index, cigarette, smoking, diabetes, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and hypertensive medications, physical activity, alcohol consumption, lipid parameter to lipid lowering therapy, the baseline lipoprotein A level greater or equal to 30 milligram per deciliter was inversely associated with developing atrial fibrillation compared those with lower levels (hazard ratio 0.84). However, the mechanism of this paradoxical association is unclear.

In another research letter, Yoshihide Takahashi and associates reported that 49 patients undergoing ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation had at least one focal site and rotational activation in 57%. Of these, 19 patients underwent a repeat ablation for recurrent atrial fibrillation. AF was mapped in 17 patients and 131 focal activation sites were ablated. There were 105 displayed focal activation sites during the de novo ablation and 89 focal activation sites during the repeat ablation. During the de novo ablation, rotation activation was observed in 19 sites. Of the 19 sites, 12 (63%) displayed rotational activity, also with the repeat ablation. The author suggested focal or rotational activation sites can be classified into two types, ones critical for AF recurrence and the ones that are bystander.

That's it for this month. We hope that you'll find the journal to be the go-to place for everyone interested in the field. See you next time.

This program is copyright American Heart Association, 2020.

Correction: In the study by Pierre Qian and associates, the epicardial ablations via subxiphoid access were performed in sheep, not pigs, as previously stated.

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