Background: Cardiac resynchronization (CRT) prolongs survival in patients with systolic heart failure and QRS prolongation. However, most trials excluded patients with permanent atrial fibrillation.
Methods and results: The Resynchronization for Ambulatory Heart Failure Trial (RAFT) randomized patients to an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or ICD+CRT, stratified by the presence of permanent atrial fibrillation. Patients with permanent atrial fibrillation were randomized to CRT-ICD (n=114) or ICD (n=115). Patients receiving a CRT-ICD were similar to those receiving an ICD: age (71.6±7.3 versus 70.4±7.7 years), left ventricular ejection fraction (22.9±5.3% versus 22.3±5.1%), and QRS duration (151.0±23.6 versus 153.4±24.7 ms). There was no difference in the primary outcome of death or heart failure hospitalization between those assigned to CRT-ICD versus ICD (hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.65-1.41; P=0.82). Cardiovascular death was similar between treatment arms (hazard ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.55-1.71; P=0.91); however, there was a trend for fewer heart failure hospitalizations with CRT-ICD (hazard ratio, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.38-1.01; P=0.052). The change in 6-minute hall walk duration between baseline and 12 months was not different between treatment arms (CRT-ICD: 19±84 m versus ICD: 16±76 m; P=0.88). Patients treated with CRT-ICD showed a trend for a greater improvement in Minnesota Living with Heart Failure score between baseline and 6 months (CRT-ICD: 41±21 to 31±21; ICD: 33±20 to 28±20; P=0.057).
Conclusions: Patients with permanent atrial fibrillation who are otherwise CRT candidates appear to gain minimal benefit from CRT-ICD compared with a standard ICD.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00251251.