Left ventricular ejection fraction normalization in cardiac resynchronization therapy and risk of ventricular arrhythmias and clinical outcomes: results from the Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (MADIT-CRT) trial

Martin H Ruwald, Scott D Solomon, Elyse Foster, Valentina Kutyifa, Anne-Christine Ruwald, Saadia Sherazi, Scott McNitt, Christian Jons, Arthur J Moss, Wojciech Zareba
Circulation 2014 December 23, 130 (25): 2278-86

BACKGROUND: Appropriate guideline criteria for use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) do not take into account potential recovery of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in patients treated with CRT-defibrillator.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients randomized to CRT-defibrillator from the Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (MADIT-CRT) trial who survived and had paired echocardiograms at enrollment and at 12 months (n=752) were included. Patients were evaluated by LVEF recovery in 3 groups (LVEF ≤35% [reference], 36%-50%, and >50%) on outcomes of ventricular tachyarrhythmias (VTAs), VTA ≥200 bpm, ICD shock, heart failure or death, and inappropriate ICD therapy by multivariable Cox models. A total of 7.3% achieved LVEF normalization (>50%). The average follow-up was 2.2±0.8 years. The risk of VTA was reduced in patients with LVEF >50% (hazard ratio [HR], 0.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.07-0.82; P=0.023) and LVEF of 36% to 50% (HR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.28-0.68; P<0.001). Among patients with LVEF >50%, only 1 patient had VTA ≥200 bpm (HR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.02-1.51), none were shocked by the ICD, and 2 died of nonarrhythmic causes. The risk of HF or death was reduced with improvements in LVEF (LVEF >50%: HR, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.09-0.97; P=0.045; and LVEF of 36%-50%: HR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.28-0.69; P<0.001). For inappropriate ICD therapy, no additional risk reduction for LVEF>50% was seen compared with an LVEF of 36% to 50%. A total of 6 factors were associated with LVEF normalization, and patients with all factors present (n=42) did not experience VTAs (positive predictive value, 100%).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients who achieve LVEF normalization (>50%) have very low absolute and relative risk of VTAs and a favorable clinical course within 2.2 years of follow-up. Risk of inappropriate ICD therapy is still present, and these patients could be considered for downgrade from CRT-defibrillator to CRT-pacemaker at the time of battery depletion if no VTAs have occurred.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION URL: Unique identifier: NCT00180271.

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