Myocardial extracellular volume expansion and the risk of recurrent atrial fibrillation after pulmonary vein isolation

Tomas G Neilan, Francois-Pierre Mongeon, Ravi V Shah, Otavio Coelho-Filho, Siddique A Abbasi, John A Dodson, Ciaran J McMullan, Bobak Heydari, Gregory F Michaud, Roy M John, Ron Blankstein, Michael Jerosch-Herold, Raymond Y Kwong
JACC. Cardiovascular Imaging 2014, 7 (1): 1-11

OBJECTIVES: This study tested whether myocardial extracellular volume (ECV) is increased in patients with hypertension and atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing pulmonary vein isolation and whether there is an association between ECV and post-procedural recurrence of AF.

BACKGROUND: Hypertension is associated with myocardial fibrosis, an increase in ECV, and AF. Data linking these findings are limited. T1 measurements pre-contrast and post-contrast in a cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) study provide a method for quantification of ECV.

METHODS: Consecutive patients with hypertension and recurrent AF referred for pulmonary vein isolation underwent a contrast CMR study with measurement of ECV and were followed up prospectively for a median of 18 months. The endpoint of interest was late recurrence of AF.

RESULTS: Patients had elevated left ventricular (LV) volumes, LV mass, left atrial volumes, and increased ECV (patients with AF, 0.34 ± 0.03; healthy control patients, 0.29 ± 0.03; p < 0.001). There were positive associations between ECV and left atrial volume (r = 0.46, p < 0.01) and LV mass and a negative association between ECV and diastolic function (early mitral annular relaxation [E'], r = -0.55, p < 0.001). In the best overall multivariable model, ECV was the strongest predictor of the primary outcome of recurrent AF (hazard ratio: 1.29; 95% confidence interval: 1.15 to 1.44; p < 0.0001) and the secondary composite outcome of recurrent AF, heart failure admission, and death (hazard ratio: 1.35; 95% confidence interval: 1.21 to 1.51; p < 0.0001). Each 10% increase in ECV was associated with a 29% increased risk of recurrent AF.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with AF and hypertension, expansion of ECV is associated with diastolic function and left atrial remodeling and is a strong independent predictor of recurrent AF post-pulmonary vein isolation.


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