Long-term follow-up after atrioventricular nodal ablation and pacing: Low incidence of sudden cardiac death

M. Gasparini, M. Mantica, M. Brignole, F. Coltorti, P. Galimberti, L. Gianfranchi, C. Menozzi, G. Magenta, P. Delise, A. Proclemer, S. Tognarini, R. Ometto, F. Acquati, R. Mantovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) has been reported in patients with drug refractory AF who underwent AV nodal ablation and pacing. However, whether SCD in these patients is related to the underlying heart disease or to the ablating and pacing procedure remains uncertain. Between May 1987 and January 1997, AV nodal ablation was performed in 585 patients (mean age 66 ± 11 years) with drug-resistant, paroxysmal (n = 308) or chronic (n = 277) AF in 12 Italian centers. Lone AF was present in 133 patients. After AV junction ablation, patients underwent VVIR (454 patients) or DDDR (131 patients) pacemaker implantation. At a follow-up of 33.6 ± 24.2 months, 80 (13.7%) deaths were recorded: 40 noncardiac, 23 nonsudden, and 17 sudden cardiac death (3%, 1.04% per year). Among five variables, including age, NYHA functional class, presence of heart disease, paroxysmal or chronic AF, previous embolic events, and LVEF, the presence of heart disease (P = 0.007) and a LVEF <0.45, (P = 0.003) were associated with a higher risk of SCD. Analysis of SCD-free survival by log-rank test showed a higher incidence of SCD in patients with LVEF <0.45 (P = 0.0001) and with coronary artery disease (P = 0.005). In this large cohort, a low incidence of long-term SCD after AV nodal ablation and pacing for drug-refractory AF was observed. The presence of underlying heart disease and the extent of baseline LV dysfunction were associated with an increased likelihood of SCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1925-1929
Number of pages5
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number11 II
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • AV nodal catheter ablation
  • Heart disease
  • Sudden cardiac death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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