Atrial Fibrillation in Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy with a Defibrillator: A Risk Factor for Mortality, Appropriate and Inappropriate Shocks


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Address for correspondence: V.A. Umans, M.D., PhD., F.E.S.C., Department of Cardiology, Medical Centre Alkmaar, Wilhelminalaan 12, 1815 JD Alkmaar, The Netherlands. Fax: +31-72 548-2157; E-mail:

Atrial Fibrillation in CRT-D


Knowledge about predictive factors for mortality and (in)appropriate shocks in cardiac resynchronization therapy with a defibrillator (CRT-D) should be available and updated to predict clinical outcome.


We retrospectively analyzed 543 consecutive patients assigned to CRT-D in 2 tertiary medical centers. The aim of this study was to assess risk factors for all-cause mortality, appropriate and inappropriate shocks.


Mean follow-up time was 3.2 (±1.8) years. A total of 110 (20%) patients died, 71 (13%) received ≥1 appropriate shocks, and 33 (6.1%) received ≥1 inappropriate shocks. No patients received a His bundle ablation and biventricular pacing percentage was not analyzed. Multivariable Cox regression analysis showed that a history of atrial fibrillation (AF) (HR 1.74 CI 1.06–2.86), higher creatinine (HR 1.12; CI 1.08–1.16), and a poorer left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (HR 0.97; CI 0.94–1.01) independently predict all-cause mortality. In the entire cohort, history of AF and secondary prevention were independent predictors of appropriate shocks and variables associated with inappropriate shocks were history of AF and QRS ≥150 milliseconds. In primary prevention patients, history of AF also predicted appropriate shocks as did ischemic cardiomyopathy and poorer LVEF. History of AF, QRS ≥150 milliseconds, and lower creatinine were associated with inappropriate shocks in this subgroup. Appropriate shocks increased mortality risk, but inappropriate shocks did not.


In symptomatic CHF patients treated with CRT-D, history of AF is an independent risk factor not only for mortality, but also for appropriate and inappropriate shocks. Further efforts in AF management may optimize the care in CRT-D patients.