Outcomes of cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with versus those without atrial fibrillation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Heart Rhythm. 2011 Jul;8(7):1088-94. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2011.02.014. Epub 2011 Feb 19.


Background: Whether the benefits observed with cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) are similar in patients with versus those without atrial fibrillation (AF) is unclear. Furthermore, whether patients with AF receiving CRT should undergo atrioventricular nodal (AVN) ablation remains uncertain.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare outcomes in patients with and those without AF receiving CRT and to evaluate the influence of AVN ablation on outcomes in patients with AF.

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed. Outcomes included death, CRT nonresponse, and changes in left ventricular (LV) remodeling, quality of life (QoL), and 6-minute hall walk distance (6MWD).

Results: Twenty-three observational studies were included and followed a total of 7,495 CRT recipients, 25.5% with AF, for a mean of 33 months. AF was associated with an increased risk of nonresponse to CRT (34.5% vs 26.7%; pooled relative risk [RR] 1.32; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12, 1.55; P = .001)) and all-cause mortality (10.8% vs 7.1% per year, pooled RR 1.50, 95% CI 1.08, 2.09; P = .015). The presence of AF was also associated with less improvement in QoL, 6-minute hall walk distance, and LV end-systolic volume but not LV ejection fraction. Among patients with AF, AVN ablation appeared favorable with a lower risk of clinical nonresponse (RR 0.40; 95% CI 0.28, 0.58; P <.001) and a reduced risk of death.

Conclusion: The benefits of CRT appear to be attenuated in patients with AF. The presence of AF is associated with an increased risk of clinical nonresponse and death than in patients without AF. AVN ablation may improve CRT outcomes in patients with AF.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy*
  • Atrioventricular Node / physiopathology*
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome