Outcomes Related to First-Degree Atrioventricular Block and Therapeutic Implications in Patients With Heart Failure

JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2016 Apr;2(2):181-192. doi: 10.1016/j.jacep.2016.02.012. Epub 2016 Apr 18.


The prevalence of first-degree atrioventricular block in the general population is approximately 4%, and it is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Cardiac pacing for any indication in patients with first-degree heart block is associated with worse outcomes compared with patients with normal atrioventricular conduction. Among patients with heart failure, first-degree atrioventricular block is present in anywhere between 15% and 51%. Data from cardiac resynchronization therapy studies have shown that first-degree atrioventricular block is associated with an increased risk of mortality and heart failure hospitalization. Recent studies suggest that optimization of atrioventricular delay in patients with cardiac resynchronization therapy is an important target for therapy; however, the optimal method for atrioventricular resynchronization remains unknown. Understanding the role of first-degree atrioventricular block in the treatment of patients with heart failure will improve medical and device therapy.

Keywords: cardiac resynchronization therapy; first-degree atrioventricular block; first-degree heart block; heart failure.

Publication types

  • Review