Background: Pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS) after PV isolation (PVI) for atrial fibrillation (AF) is a severe complication that requires angioplasty. This study aimed to compare the reduction of the cross-sectional PV area (PVA) and the incidence of PVS after cryoballoon (CB)-PVI, hot balloon (HB)-PVI, or laser balloon (LB)-PVI.
Methods and Results: A total of 320 patients who underwent an initial catheter ablation procedure for AF using a CB, HB, or LB in 2 hospitals were included. They underwent contrast-enhanced multidetector CT before and 3 months after the procedure. In all 4 PVs, the reduction in PVA was more significant in the LB group than in the CB or HB groups, respectively. Moderate (50–75%) and severe (>75%) PVS were observed in 5.3% and 0.5% of the PVs, respectively. Although moderate PVS was more frequently observed in the LB group than in the CB or HB groups (8.2%, 3.8%, and 5.0%; P=0.03), the incidence of severe PVS was similar in the LB, CB, and HB groups (0.3%, 0.5%, and 1.0%; P=0.46). Symptomatic PVS requiring intervention occurred in 1 (0.3%) patient.
Conclusions: Although the reduction in cross-sectional PVA and the incidence of moderate PVS after LB-PVI was more significant than after CB-PVI or HB-PVI, it rarely led to severe PVS. Symptomatic PVS requiring intervention was rare after the balloon ablation of AF.
Background: Pulsed field ablation (PFA) is a non-thermal energy source with promising safety and efficacy advantages. We aimed to develop a convenient, safe, effective and fast method of pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) utilizing a penta-spline PFA catheter via a single femoral vein and a venous closure system.
Methods and Results: Consecutive patients (n=50; mean age: 63.6±10.7 years, 38% female) presenting with AF (paroxysmal AF: 56%) underwent first-time PVI via PFA. A single ultrasound-guided femoral vein puncture and a single transseptal puncture were used. After PVI using the penta-spline PFA catheter, extra pulse trains were added to the posterior wall for wide antral circumferential ablation. A venous closure system was used and a Donati suture was performed. The pressure bandage was removed after 1 h. A total of 196 PVs were identified and isolated with PFA only. The mean procedural time was 27.4±6.6 min, and the mean dwelling time was 14.4±5.5 min. Time to ambulation was 3.3±3.1 h. No severe complications occurred. During a mean follow-up of 6.5±2.1 months, 41/50 patients (82%) remained in sinus rhythm.
Conclusions: The combination of a single venous puncture, single transseptal puncture approach using PFA and vascular closure device resulted in a 100% rate of acute PVI and an extraordinarily fast procedure and time to ambulation. The rate of periprocedural complications was low.
Background: This study assessed the prognostic importance of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations for clinical events after catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF).
Methods and Results: We enrolled 1,750 consecutive patients undergoing initial AF ablation whose baseline BNP data were available from a large-scale multicenter observational cohort (TRANQUILIZE-AF Registry). The prognostic impact of BNP concentration on clinical outcomes, including recurrent tachyarrhythmias and a composite of heart failure (HF) hospitalization or cardiac death, was evaluated. Median baseline BNP was 94.2 pg/mL. During a median follow-up of 2.4 years, low BNP (<38.3 pg/mL) was associated with lower rates of recurrent atrial tachyarrhythmias than BNP concentrations ≥38.3 pg/mL (19.9% vs. 30.6% at 3 years; P<0.001) and HF (0.8% vs. 5.3% at 3 years; P<0.001). Multivariable Cox regression analyses revealed that low BNP was independently associated with lower risks of arrhythmia recurrence (hazard ratio [HR] 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47–0.82; P<0.001) and HF (HR 0.17; 95% CI 0.04–0.71; P=0.002). The favorable impact of low BNP on arrhythmia recurrence was prominent in patients with paroxysmal, but not non-paroxysmal, AF, particularly among those with long-standing AF.
Conclusions: Low BNP concentrations had a favorable impact on clinical outcomes after AF ablation. The heterogeneous impact of baseline BNP concentrations on arrhythmia recurrence for the subgroups of patients divided by AF type warrants future larger studies with longer follow-up periods.
Background: There are limited data about predictors of atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence after totally thoracoscopic ablation (TTA). This study investigated the clinical implication of left atrial appendage emptying velocity (LAAV) in patients undergoing TTA.
Methods and Results: Patients who underwent TTA between 2012 and 2015 at a tertiary hospital were prospectively enrolled in this study. LAAV was measured and averaged over five heart beats from preoperative transesophageal echocardiography. The primary outcome was a freedom from recurrent AF or atrial flutter (AFL) detected on 24-h Holter monitoring or an electrocardiogram over a 3-year period after TTA. In all, 129 patients were eligible for analysis in this study. The mean (±SD) patient age was 54.4±8.8 years, and 95.3% were male. During the 3 years after TTA, the overall event-free survival rate was 65.3%. LAAV was an independent predictor of recurrent AF/AFL during the 3-year period after TTA (per 1-cm/s increase, adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.91–0.99; P=0.016). Event-free survival was significantly lower among patients with a low LAAV (<20 cm/s; n=21) compared with those with a normal (≥40 cm/s; n=38; aHR 6.11; 95% CI 1.42–26.15; P=0.015) or intermediate (LAAV ≥20 and <40 cm/s; n=70; aHR 2.74, 95% CI 1.29–5.83; P=0.009) LAAV.
Conclusions: In patients with AF, LAAV was significantly associated with the risk of long-term recurrence of AF after TTA.
Background: Circumferential pulmonary vein isolation (CPVI) has supplanted segmental PVI (SPVI) as standard procedure for atrial fibrillation (AF). However, there is limited evidence examining the efficacy of these strategies in redo ablations. In this study, we investigated the difference in recurrence rates between SPVI and CPVI in redo ablations for PV reconnection.
Methods and Results: This study retrospectively enrolled 543 patients who had undergone AF ablation between 2015 and 2017. Among them, 167 patients (30.8%, including 128 male patients and 100 patients with paroxysmal AF) underwent redo ablation for recurrent AF. Excluding 26 patients without PV reconnection, 141 patients [90 patients of SPVI (Group 1) and 51 patients of CPVI (Group 2)] were included. The AF-free survival rates were 53.3% and 56.9% in Group 1 and Group 2, respectively (P=0.700). The atrial flutter (AFL)-free survival rates were 90% and 100% in Group 1 and Group 2, respectively (P=0.036). The ablation time was similar between groups, and there no major complications were observed.
Conclusions: For redo AF ablation procedures, SPVI and CPVI showed similar outcomes, except for a higher AFL recurrence rate for SPVI after long-term follow-up (>2 years). This may be due to a higher probability of residual PV gaps causing reentrant AFL.
Background: For lesion size prediction, each input parameter, including ablation energy (AE), and output parameter, such as impedance, is individually used. We hypothesize that using both parameters simultaneously may be more optimal.
Methods and Results: Radiofrequency applications at a range of power (30–50 W), contact force (10 g and 20 g), duration (10–60 s), and catheter orientation with normal saline (NS)- or half-normal saline (HNS)-irrigation were performed in excised porcine hearts. The correlations, with lesion size of AE, absolute impedance drop (∆Imp-drop), relative impedance drop (%Imp-drop), and AE*%Imp-drop were examined. Lesion size was analyzed in 283 of 288 lesions (NS-irrigation, n=142; HNS-irrigation, n=141) without steam pops. AE*%Imp-drop consistently showed the strongest correlations with lesion maximum depth (NS-irrigation, ρ=0.91; HNS-irrigation, ρ=0.94), surface area (NS-irrigation, ρ=0.87; HNS-irrigation, ρ=0.86), and volume (NS-irrigation, ρ=0.94; HNS-irrigation, ρ=0.94) compared with the other parameters. Moreover, compared with AE alone, AE*%Imp-drop significantly improved the strength of correlation with lesion maximum depth (AE vs. AE*%Imp-drop, ρ=0.83 vs. 0.91, P<0.01), surface area (ρ=0.73 vs. 0.87, P<0.01), and volume (ρ=0.84 vs. 0.94, P<0.01) with NS-irrigation. This tendency was also observed with HNS-irrigation. Parallel catheter orientation showed a better correlation with lesion depth and volume using ∆Imp-drop, %Imp-drop, and AE*%Imp-drop than perpendicular orientation.
Conclusions: The combination of input and output parameters is more optimal than each single parameter for lesion prediction.
Background: This sub-analysis of the ANAFIE Registry, a prospective, observational study of >30,000 Japanese non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients aged ≥75 years, assessed the prevalence of direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) under-dose prevalence, identified the factors of under-dose prescriptions, and examined the relationship between DOAC dose and clinical outcomes.
Methods and Results: Patients, divided into 5 groups by DOAC dose (standard, over-, reduced, under-, and off-label), were analyzed for background factors, cumulative incidences, and clinical outcome risk. Endpoints were stroke/systemic embolic events (SEE), major bleeding, and all-cause death during the 2-year follow-up. Of 18,497 patients taking DOACs, 20.7%, 3.8%, 51.6%, 19.6%, and 4.3%, were prescribed standard, over-, reduced, under-, and off-label doses. Factors associated with under-dose use were female sex, age ≥85 years, reduced creatinine clearance, history of major bleeding, polypharmacy, antiplatelet agents, heart failure, dementia, and no history of catheter ablation or cerebrovascular disease. After confounder adjustment, under-dose vs. standard dose was not associated with the incidence of stroke/SEE or major bleeding but was associated with a higher mortality rate. Patients receiving an off-label dose showed similar tendencies to those receiving an under-dose; that is, they showed the highest mortality rates for stroke/SEE, major bleeding, and all-cause death.
Conclusions: Inappropriate low DOAC doses (under- or off-label dose) were not associated with stroke/SEE or major bleeding but were associated with all-cause death.
Background: The HELT-E2S2score, which assigns 1 point to Hypertension, Elderly aged 75–84 years, Low body mass index <18.5 kg/m2, and Type of atrial fibrillation (AF: persistent/permanent), and 2 points to Extreme Elderly aged ≥85 years and previous Stroke, has been proposed as a new risk stratification for strokes in Japanese AF patients, but has not yet undergone external validation.
Methods and Results: We evaluated the prognostic performance of the HELT-E2S2score for stroke risk stratification using 2 large-scale registries in Japanese AF patients (n=7,020). During 23,241 person-years of follow-up (mean follow-up 1,208±450 days), 287 ischemic stroke events occurred. The C-statistic using the HELT-E2S2score was 0.661 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.629–0.692), which was numerically higher than with the CHADS2score (0.644, 95% CI 0.613–0.675; P=0.15 vs. HELT-E2S2) or CHA2DS2-VASc score (0.650, 95% CI, 0.619–0.680; P=0.37 vs. HELT-E2S2). In the SAKURA AF Registry, the C-statistic of the HELT-E2S2score was consistently higher than the CHADS2and CHA2DS2-VASc scores across all 3 types of facilities comprising university hospitals, general hospitals, and clinics. However, in the RAFFINE Study, its superiority was only observed in general hospitals.
Conclusions: The HELT-E2S2score demonstrated potential value for risk stratification, particularly in a super-aged society such as Japan. However, its superiority over the CHADS2or CHA2DS2-VASc scores may vary across different hospital settings.
Background: The prognostic effect of concomitant hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) on adverse events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) has not been evaluated in a multicenter prospective cohort study in Japan.
Methods and Results: Using the Hokuriku-Plus AF Registry, 1,396 patients with nonvalvular AF (1,018 men, 72.3±9.7 years old) were assessed prospectively; 72 (5.2%) had concomitant HCM. During a median follow-up of 5.0 years (interquartile range 3.5–5.3 years), 79 cases of thromboembolism (1.3 per 100 person-years) and 192 of heart failure (HF) (3.2 per 100 person-years) occurred. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the HCM group had a significantly greater incidence of thromboembolism (P=0.002 by log-rank test) and HF (P<0.0001 by a log-rank test) than the non-HCM group. The Cox proportional hazards model demonstrated that persistent AF (adjusted hazard ratio 2.98, 95% confidence interval 1.56–6.21), the CHA2DS2-VASc score (1.35, 1.18–1.54), and concomitant HCM (2.48, 1.16–4.79) were significantly associated with thromboembolism. Conversely, concomitant HCM (2.81, 1.72–4.43), older age (1.07, 1.05–1.10), lower body mass index (0.95, 0.91–0.99), a history of HF (2.49, 1.77–3.52), and lower left ventricular ejection fraction (0.98, 0.97–0.99) were significantly associated with the development of HF.
Conclusions: Concomitant HCM predicts the incidence of thromboembolism and HF in AF patients.
Background: In patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and severe blood stasis in the left atrial appendage (LAA), dense spontaneous echo contrast (SEC) disturbs the distinct visualization of the LAA interior, thus making thrombus diagnosis inconclusive. We aimed to prospectively assess the efficacy and safety of a protocol for a low-dose isoproterenol (ISP) infusion to reduce SEC to exclude an LAA thrombus.
Methods and Results: We enrolled 17 patients with AF and dense SEC (Grade 4 or sludge). ISP was infused with gradually increasing doses of 0.01, 0.02, and 0.03 μg/kg/min at 3-min intervals. After increasing the dose to 0.03 μg/kg/min for 3 min, or when the LAA interior was visible, the infusion was terminated. We reassessed the SEC grade, presence of an LAA thrombus, LAA function, and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) within 1 min of ISP termination. Compared with baseline, ISP significantly increased LAA flow velocity, the LAA emptying fraction, LAA wall velocities, and LVEF (all P<0.01). ISP administration significantly reduced the SEC grade (median) from 4 to 1 (P<0.001). The SEC grade decreased to ≤2 in 15 (88%) patients, and the LAA thrombus was excluded. There were no adverse events.
Conclusions: Low-dose ISP infusion may be effective and safe to reduce SEC and exclude an LAA thrombus by improving LAA function and LVEF.
Background: The Micra leadless pacemaker has demonstrated favorable outcomes in global trials, but its real-world performance and safety in a Japan-specific population is unknown.
Methods and Results: Micra Acute Performance (MAP) Japan enrolled 300 patients undergoing Micra VR leadless pacemaker implantation in 15 centers. The primary endpoint was the acute (30-day) major complication rate. The 30-day and 6-month major complication rates were compared to global Micra studies. All patients underwent successful implantation with an average follow-up of 7.23±2.83 months. Compared with previous Micra studies, Japanese patients were older, smaller, more frequently female, and had a higher pericardial effusion risk score. 11 acute major complications were reported in 10 patients for an acute complication rate of 3.33% (95% confidence interval: 1.61–6.04%), which was in line with global Micra trials. Pericardial effusion occurred in 4 patients (1.33%; 3 major, 1 minor). No procedure or device-related deaths occurred. Frailty significantly improved from baseline to follow-up as assessed by Japan Cardiovascular Health Study criteria.
Conclusions: In a Japanese cohort, implantation of the Micra leadless pacemaker had a high success rate and low major complication rate. Despite the Japan cohort being older, smaller, and at higher risk, the safety and performance was in line with global Micra trials.
Background: Antithrombotic therapy after left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) in patients at high risk of bleeding remains controversial. We present real-world clinical outcomes of LAAC.
Methods and Results: Data from 74 consecutive patients who received LAAC therapy between January 2020 and June 2022 were analyzed. Patients received 1 of 3 antithrombotic therapies according to the bleeding risk category or clinical event. Regimen 1 was based on a prior study, regimen 2 comprised a lower antiplatelet drug dose without dual antiplatelet therapy, and regimen 3 was antiplatelet drug administration for as long as possible to patients with uncontrollable bleeding who were required to stop anticoagulant drugs. Overall, 73 (98.6%) procedures were successful. Of them, 16 (21.9%) patients were selected for regimen 1, 46 (63.0%) for regimen 2, and 11 (15.1%) for regimen 3. Device-related thrombosis (13% vs. 0% vs. 0%, P=0.0257) only occurred with regimen 1. There was no difference in major bleeding event rates (6% vs. 2% vs. 9%, P=0.53).
Conclusions: The post-LAAC antithrombotic regimen was modified without major concerns.
Background: Cardiac calmodulinopathy, characterized by a life-threatening arrhythmia and sudden death in the young, is extremely rare and caused by genes encoding calmodulin, namely calmodulin 1 (CALM1), CALM2, and CALM3.
Methods and Results: We screened 195 symptomatic children (age 0–12 years) who were suspected of inherited arrhythmias for 48 candidate genes, using a next-generation sequencer. Ten probands were identified as carrying variants in any of CALM1–3 (5%; median age 5 years), who were initially diagnosed with long QT syndrome (LQTS; n=5), catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT; n=3), and overlap syndrome (n=2). Two probands harbored a CALM1 variant and 8 probands harbored 6 CALM2 variants. There were 4 clinical phenotypes: (1) documented lethal arrhythmic events (LAEs): 4 carriers of N98S in CALM1 or CALM2; (2) suspected LAEs: CALM2 p.D96G and D132G carriers experienced syncope and transient cardiopulmonary arrest under emotional stimulation; (3) critical cardiac complication: CALM2 p.D96V and p.E141K carriers showed severe cardiac dysfunction with QTc prolongation; and (4) neurological and developmental disorders: 2 carriers of CALM2 p.E46K showed cardiac phenotypes of CPVT. Beta-blocker therapy was effective in all cases except cardiac dysfunction, especially in combination with flecainide (CPVT-like phenotype) and mexiletine (LQTS-like).
Conclusions: Calmodulinopathy patients presented severe cardiac features, and their onset of LAEs was earlier in life, requiring diagnosis and treatment at the earliest age possible.
Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most diagnosed arrhythmia in clinical settings. The fatty liver index (FLI) is a marker of liver steatosis with potential cardiovascular implications. This study investigated whether FLI could predict the risk of AF.
Methods and Results: We used data from the Suita Study, a Japanese population-based prospective cohort study. A total of 2,346 men and 3,543 women, aged 30–84 years, without prevalent AF were included and followed up. The diagnosis of AF was established during follow-up using electrocardiograms, hospital records, and death certificates. FLI was assessed during a baseline health checkup. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for incident AF per FLI quintile and log-transformed FLI. Within a median 14.5 years of follow-up, 142 men and 105 women developed AF. Compared with women in the third (middle) FLI quintile, women in the first (lowest), fourth, and fifth (highest) quintiles showed a higher risk of AF, with multivariable-adjusted HRs of 2.37 (95% CI 1.06–5.31), 2.60 (95% CI 1.30–5.17), and 2.04 (95% CI 1.00–4.18), respectively. No corresponding associations were observed in men. The change in log-transformed FLI was not associated with the risk of AF in either sex.
Conclusions: A U-shaped association between FLI and AF risk was detected in Japanese women. FLI could be a screening tool to detect women at high risk of developing AF.