Atrial Pacing Periablation for Prevention of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation
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BACKGROUND: This study tested the hypothesis that rate-adaptive atrial pacing would prevent paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) in patients with frequent PAF in the absence of symptomatic bradycardia. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients (n=97) with antiarrhythmic drug-refractory PAF received a Medtronic Thera DR pacemaker 3 months before planned AV node ablation. Patients were randomized to no pacing (n=48) or to atrial rate-adaptive pacing (n=49). After a 2-week stabilization period, patients were followed up for an additional 10 weeks. The time to first recurrence of sustained PAF, the interval between successive episodes of PAF, and the frequency of PAF were compared between the 2 groups in intention-to-treat analysis. Time to first episode of sustained PAF was similar in the no-pacing (4.2 days; 95% CI, 1.8 to 9.5) and the atrial-pacing (1.9 days; 95% CI, 0.8 to 4.6; P=NS) groups. PAF burden was lower in the no-pacing (0.24 h/d; 95% CI, 0.10 to 0.56) than in the atrial-pacing (0.67 h/d; 95% CI, 0.30 to 1.52; P=0.08) group. Paired crossover analysis in 11 patients revealed that time to first PAF was shorter during atrial pacing (1.6 days; 95% CI, 0.6 to 4.9) than with no pacing (6.0 days; 95% CI, 2.4 to 15.0; P=0.13), and PAF burden was greater during atrial pacing (1.00 h/d; 95% CI, 0.35 to 2.91) than with no pacing (0.32 h/d; 95% CI, 0.09 to 1.13; P<0.016). CONCLUSIONS: Atrial rate-adaptive pacing does not prevent PAF over the short term in patients with antiarrhythmic drug-resistant PAF without symptomatic bradycardia.
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