Atrioventricular junction ablation (AVJA) is a highly effective treatment in patients with therapy refractory atrial fibrillation (AF) but renders the patient pacemaker dependent. We aimed to analyse the long-term incidence of hospitalization for heart failure (HF) and all-cause mortality in patients who underwent AVJA because of AF and to determine predictors for HF and mortality.
We retrospectively enrolled 162 consecutive patients, mean age 67 ± 9 years, 48% women, who underwent AVJA because of symptomatic AF refractory to pharmacological treatment (n = 117) or unsuccessful repeated pulmonary vein isolation (n = 45). Hospitalization for HF occurred in 32 (20%) patients and 35 (22%) patients died, representing a cumulative incidence for hospitalization for HF and mortality over the first 2 years after AVJA of 9.1 and 5.2%, respectively. Hospitalization for HF occurred to the same extent in patients who failed pharmacological treatment as in patients with repeated pulmonary vein isolation (PVI), although the mortality was slightly higher in the former group. QRS prolongation =120 ms and left atrial diameter were independent predictors of hospitalization for HF, while hypertension and previous HF were independent predictors of death.
The long-term hospitalization rate for HF and all-cause mortality was low, which implies that long-term ventricular pacing was not harmful in this patient population, including patients with unsuccessful repeated PVI.