Postprocedural atrial fibrillation after transcatheter aortic valve implantation versus surgical aortic valve replacement

Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Jan;93(1):124-31. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2011.08.078. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Background: Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) represents an alternative option for elderly patients with severe aortic valve stenosis who are denied surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) because of high perioperative risk. The impact of TAVI on postprocedural atrial fibrillation is undefined.

Methods: In a single-center analysis, we assessed clinical data, preoperative risk scores (Society for Thoracic Surgeons score, logistic European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation), preprocedural electrocardiograms, and 72-hour postprocedural rhythm monitoring of 170 patients undergoing TAVI (n=84) or SAVR (n=86). In a subanalysis, transapical (n=43) and transfemoral TAVI (n=41) were compared.

Results: Expectedly, TAVI patients were significantly older, presented with more severe symptoms, had higher Society for Thoracic Surgeons score, higher logistic European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation score, and revealed more frequently intermittent atrial fibrillation compared with SAVR patients. Despite this more compromised health state, prevalence of postprocedural atrial fibrillation was significantly lower in the TAVI group (6.0%, versus 33.7% after SAVR, p<0.05). More than two thirds of TAVI patients but no SAVR patient with atrial fibrillation in preprocedural electrocardiograms had stable sinus rhythm during 72-hour postprocedural monitoring. Notably, no atrial fibrillation was observed after transfemoral TAVI. Whereas atrial fibrillation onset in the SAVR group predominantly occurred on postoperative day 3, atrial fibrillation onset after transapical TAVI was obtained within the first 24 hours after the intervention.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that TAVI, compared with SAVR, reduces the risk of periprocedural atrial fibrillation. Furthermore, preprocedural atrial fibrillation may be converted into sinus rhythm particularly after transfemoral TAVI, suggesting an impact of decreased intracardiac pressures in the absence of adverse periprocedural factors that might promote atrial fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / surgery*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Cardiac Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors