alexa Diagnosis of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in patients with implanted pacemakers: relationship to symptoms and other variables
Cardiology

Cardiology

Angiology: Open Access

Author(s): Quirino G

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BACKGROUND:

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is not always accompanied by clear-cut symptoms and symptoms suggestive of AF may not correspond to a genuine AF episode. The study prospectively evaluated the burden of asymptomatic AF episodes in pacemaker patients (for sick sinus syndrome) with a history of documented paroxysmal AF.

METHODS:

Consecutive patients were enrolled and implanted with dual-chamber pacemakers equipped with diagnostic features for AF monitoring. Each patient was instructed about typical AF symptoms and was asked to keep a detailed log of symptoms. Stored pacemaker data were analyzed using only AF episodes >30 s.

RESULTS:

The mean follow-up was 16 +/- 6 months and 102 patients were enrolled (73 +/- 7 years, 59 M). Thirteen patients (13%) dropped out with the development of permanent AF and their data were discarded. Twenty-three patients (26%) without device-stored AF episodes all reported at least one annotated AF episode. There were 1,245 device-stored AF episodes in 66 (74%) out of 89 patients. Patients reported 1,141 episodes of AF-related symptoms. Only 240 (21%) corresponded to a genuine device-stored AF event. The sensitivity and positive predictive value of symptoms to detect AF were respectively 19% and 21%. Episode duration, rate increase at the onset of the arrhythmia, heart disease, or antiarrhythmic drug therapy showed no statistically significant differences comparing symptomatic and asymptomatic episodes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Many pacemaker patients with paroxysmal AF can develop AF-like symptoms in the absence of device-stored AF. AF-related symptoms have low sensitivity and low positive predictive value in patients with permanent pacemakers.

This article was published in Pacing Clin Electrophysiol and referenced in Angiology: Open Access

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