Effects of atrioventricular nodal ablation on permanent atrial fibrillation patients with cardiac resynchronization therapy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Cardiol. 2014 Nov;37(11):707-15. doi: 10.1002/clc.22312. Epub 2014 Aug 25.


Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is a well-established therapy for patients with heart failure (HF) and wide QRS configuration, especially for those in sinus rhythm. However, for those with permanent AF, atrioventricular nodal (AVN) ablation use remains under debate. Our objective was to evaluate clinical outcomes and mortality of AVN ablation in HF patients with permanent AF receiving CRT. Electronic publication database and reference lists through October 1, 2013 were searched. Observational cohort studies comparing CRT patients with AF who received either AVN ablation or medical therapy were selected. Outcomes included mortality, CRT nonresponse, changes in left ventricular remodeling, and functional outcomes, such as New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class, quality of life, and 6-minute hall walk distance. Of 1641 reports identified, 13 studies with 1256 patients were included. Among patients with permanent AF and insufficient biventricular pacing (< 90%), those who had undergone AVN ablation compared to those who did not had numerically lower all-cause mortality (risk ratio [RR]: 0.63, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.42 to 0.96, P = 0.03) and significantly lower nonresponse to CRT (RR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.31 to 0.54, P < 0.00001). Furthermore, AVN ablation was not associated with additional improvements on left ventricular ejection fraction, NYHA functional class, 6-minute hall walking distance, and quality of life. In patients with permanent AF undergoing CRT, AVN ablation tended to reduce mortality potentially and improved clinical response when it was applied to patients with inadequate biventricular pacing (< 90%). Randomized controlled trials are needed to further address the efficacy of AVN ablation among this population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy*
  • Atrioventricular Node / surgery*
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy*
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Stroke Volume