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Predictors of systolic function recovery after atrial fibrillation ablation in heart failure patients.

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure (HF) often coexist. AF catheter ablation improves left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), but its impact varies between patients. We aimed to identify predictors of LVEF improvement in HF patients with impaired LVEF undergoing AF ablation.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective single-center study in HF patients with LVEF <50% undergoing AF catheter ablation between May 2016 and May 2022. The primary endpoint was the LVEF recovery rate ('responders'). Secondary endpoints were one-year safety and effectiveness. We also aimed to validate a prediction model for LVEF recovery.

RESULTS: The study included 100 patients (79% male, median age 60 years, 70% with probable tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy [TIC], mean LVEF 37%, 29% with paroxysmal AF). After a median follow-up of 12 months after catheter ablation, LVEF improved significantly (36±10% vs. 53±10%, p<0.001), with an 82% responder rate. A suspected diagnosis of TIC (OR 4.916 [95% CI 1.166-20.732], p=0.030), shorter QRS duration (OR 0.969 [95% CI 0.945-0.994], p=0.015), and smaller left ventricle (OR 0.893 [95% CI 0.799-0.999], p=0.049) were independently associated with LVEF improvement. Freedom from any documented atrial arrhythmia was 86% (64% under antiarrhythmic drugs), and the rate of adverse events was 2%. The prediction model had a good discriminative performance (AUC 0.814 [95% CI 0.681-0.947]).

CONCLUSION: In AF patients with HF and impaired LVEF, suspected TIC, shorter QRS duration, and smaller LV diameter were associated with LVEF recovery following AF catheter ablation.

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