Ventricular high-rate episodes in pacemaker diagnostics identify a high-risk subgroup of patients with tachy-brady syndrome
Willems, Rik × Morck, Margaret L Exner, Derek V Rose, Sarah M Gillis, Anne M #
Heart Rhythm vol:1 issue:4 pages:414-21
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency and clinical significance of ventricular high-rate (VHR) episodes (ventricular rate >162 bpm) in patients with symptomatic bradycardia and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). BACKGROUND: Newer pacemakers have enhanced diagnostic features that permit detection and storage of detailed information about the frequency, duration, and time of onset of multiple episodes of AF, atrial tachycardia (AT), and ventricular tachycardia (VT). However, the prevalence and prognostic value of AF associated with rapid ventricular rates in the pacemaker population are unknown. METHODS: We prospectively followed 125 patients who received a Medtronic AT 500/501 pacemaker for symptomatic bradycardia and paroxysmal AF. RESULTS: AF recurred in 112 patients (90%) during 22 +/- 8 months of follow-up. A total of 1,324 VHR episodes occurred in 38 patients (30%). Episodes with available electrograms (n = 560) were reviewed and classified as AF (n = 279; 50%), AT (n = 266; 47%) or VT (n = 15; 3%). AF burden was higher in patients with VHR episodes (median 1.9 vs 0.2 hours/day; P < .001). After controlling for AT/AF burden and heart disease, VHR episodes were a significant independent predictor of hospitalization for cardiovascular symptoms (odds ratio 2.92, 95% confidence interval 1.33-6.38; P = .007). Heart rate control improved over time in the cohort, and the frequency of VHR episodes decreased during follow-up (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: VHR episodes documented in the pacemaker diagnostics identify a high-risk subgroup of patients with AF. Monitoring VHR episodes may be useful for identifying pacemaker patients with AF who require more vigilant monitoring, additional investigations, and/or additional interventions.