Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology November 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, Danielle Haanschoten, Hein Wellens and Associates aim to examine survival benefit of prophylactic implantable cardioversion defibrillator (ICD) implantation in early selected high-risk patients with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). A randomized, multicenter, controlled trial compared ICD versus conventional medical therapy in high-risk primary PCI patients based on one of the following factors: Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVF) less than 30% within four days of STEMI, primary ventricular fibrillation, Killip class 2 or greater and/or TEMI flow less than three after PCI. ICD was implanted 30 to 60 days after MI, myocardial infarction, primary endpoint was all cause mortality three years of follow-up. The trial was prematurely ended after inclusion of 266 patients, 38% of the calculated sample size. Additional survival assessments was performed in February 2019 for the primary endpoint. A total of 266 patients, 78.2% male with a mean age of 60.8 years were enrolled. 131 were randomized to the ICD arm and 135 patients to the control arm. All cause mortality was significantly lower in the ICD group, five versus 13, hazard ratio of 0.37 after three years follow-up. Appropriate ICD therapy occurred in nine patients at three years follow-up, 5 within the first eight months after implantation. After median long-term follow-up of nine years, total mortality (18% versus 38%, hazard ratio of 0.58) and cardiac mortality (hazard ratio of 0.52) was significantly lower in the ICD group. Non-cardiac death was not significantly different between the groups. LVEF increased 10% or more in the 46.5% of patients during follow-up and the extent of improvement was similar in both study groups. The authors concluded that in this prematurely terminated and thus underpowered randomized trial early prophylactic ICD implantation demonstrated lower total and cardiac mortality in high-risk STEMI patients treated with primary PCI.

In our next paper Felipe Bisbal, Eva Benito and Associates aim to test the efficacy of ablating, cardiac magnetic resonance, CMR detected atrial fibrosis plus pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). This was an open label, parallel group, randomized controlled trial. Patients with symptomatic drug refractory AF paroxysmal or persistent undergoing first or repeat ablation were randomized one-to-one basis to receive PVI plus CMR-guided fibrosis ablation, the CMR group or PVI alone, the PVI alone group. The primary endpoint was a rate of recurrence greater than 30 seconds at 12 months of follow-up using a 12-lead ECG and Holter monitoring at 3, 6 and 12 months. The analysis was conducted by intention to treat. In total 155 patients, 71% male, age 59, CHADS2-VASc 1.3, 54% paroxysmal AF were allocated to the PVI group alone (n=76) or CMR group(n=79). First ablation was performed in 80% and 71% in the PVI alone and CMR groups respectively. The mean atrial fibrosis burden was 12%, only approximately 50% of patients had fibrosis outside the pulmonary vein area. 100% and 99% of patients received the assigned intervention in the PVI alone and CMR group. Primary outcome was achieved in 21 patients (27.6%) in the PVI alone group and 22 patients (27.8%) in the CMR group (Odds ratio 0.01, P=0.976). There was no differences in the rate of adverse events, three in the CMR group and two in the PVI alone group. The authors concluded that a pragmatic ablation approach targeting CMR detected atrial fibrosis plus PVI was not more effective than PVI alone in an unselected population undergoing AF ablation with low fibrosis burden.

In the next paper, Vivek Reddy and Associates tested a novel neuromodulation therapy of stimulation of epicardial cardiac nerves passing along the posterior surface of the right pulmonary artery. 15 subjects admitted for defibrillator implantation (ejection fraction≤35%) on standard heart failure medications were enrolled. Through femoral arterial access, high fidelity pressure catheters were placed in the left ventricle and aortic root. After electro anatomic rendering of the pulmonary artery and branches, either a circular or basket electrophysiology catheter was placed in the right pulmonary artery to allow electrical intravascular stimulation at 20 hertz, 4 ms pulse width, and less than or equal to 20 milliamperes. Changes in the maximum positive dP/dt, the dP/dtMax indicated change in ventricular contractility. Of 15 enrolled patients, five were not studied due to equipment failure or abnormal pulmonary artery anatomy. In the remaining patients dP/dtMax increased significantly by 22.6%. There was also a significant increase in maximum negative dP/dt, dP/dtMin, mean arterial pressure, systolic pressure, diastolic pressure, and left ventricular systolic pressure. There was no significant change in heart rate or left ventricular diastolic pressure. In this first-in-human study, the authors demonstrated that in humans with stable heart failure, left ventricular contractility could be accentuated without an increase in heart rate or left ventricular filling pressures.

In our next paper, Jorge Romero, Luigi Di Biase, and Associates, in their study investigated the incremental benefit of left atrial appendage electrical isolation (LAAEI) in patients undergoing catheter ablation for nonparoxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). Propensity score-matched analysis was performed using a prospective registry database from 2010 to 2014. All patients in the LAAEI group were matched based on baseline characteristics, echocardiographic parameters, and procedural ablation techniques. Authors identified 1842 patients who underwent catheter ablation for nonparoxysmal atrial fibrillation. Propensity score matching yielded 1092 patients, 546 with LAAEI, and 546 without LAAEI. At five years follow-up, overall freedom from all arrhythmia recurrence, off-antiarrhythmic drugs, in patients who underwent LAAEI was 68.9% versus 50.2% in those who underwent standard ablation (p

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