Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology on the Beat July 2018

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Dr Paul Wang: Welcome to the monthly podcast, On the Beat for Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. I'm Dr Paul Wang, Editor-in-Chief, with some of the key highlights from this month's issue.

In our first paper this month, Shaan Khurshid and associates determine the frequency of rhythm abnormalities in 502,627 adults in the UK Biobank, a national prospective cohort. They found that 2.35% had a baseline rhythm abnormality. The prevalence increased with age, with 4.84% of individuals aged 65 to 73 years having rhythm abnormalities. During over three million person- years of follow up, nearly 16,000 new rhythm abnormalities were detected. Atrial fibrillation was the most frequent with three per thousand person-years. Bradyarrhythmia with almost one per thousand person-years. Conduction system disease is about one per one thousand years. Supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias, each about one half per one thousand person-years. Older age was associated with a hazard ratio of 2.35 for each 10 year increase. Male sex, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and heart failure were all associated with new rhythm abnormalities.

In our next paper, Fabien Squara and associates evaluated a method of determining the septal or free wall positioning of pacemaker or ICD leads during fluoroscopy. They compared in 50 patients a classical approach using posterior anterior, right anterior oblique 30 degrees, and left anterior oblique 40 degrees fluoroscopic imaging’s to 50 patients undergoing an individualized left anterior oblique or LAO approach. This individualized LAO approach view provided a true view of the interventricular septum. This angle was defined by the degree of LAO that allowed the perfect superimposition of the RV apex, using the tip of the right ventricular lead, temporarily placed at the apex, and one of the superior vena cava, inferior vena cava access using a guide wire. Transthoracic echo was used to confirm position of the right ventricular lead.

Septal, or free wall, right ventricular lead positioning was correctly identified in 96% of patients in the individualized group, versus 76% in the classical group. P equals 0.004. For septal lead positioning fluoroscopy had 100% sensitivity, and an 89.5 specificity in an individualized group, versus 91.4% sensitivity, and a 40% specificity in the classical group.

In our next paper, Elsayed Soliman and associates examined the lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation based on race and socioeconomic status. In the atherosclerosis risk in communities, ARIC, cohort, of 15,343 participants without atrial fibrillation, patients were recruited in 1987 to 1989, when they were 45 to 64 years of age, and followed through 2014. The authors identify 2,760 atrial fibrillation cases during a mean follow up of 21 years. The authors found that the lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation in the ARIC cohort was approximately one in three among whites, and one in five among African Americans. And, the socioeconomic status was inversely associated with cumulative incidents of atrial fibrillation before the last decades of life.

In our next paper, Jonathan Steinberg and associates sought to determine the impact of atrial fibrillation episode duration threshold on atrial fibrillation incidents and burden in pacemaker patients in a prospective registry. In 615 pacemaker patients was device detected atrial fibrillation over a mean follow up of 3.7 years, 599 had one or more atrial fibrillation episodes of 30 seconds duration, with a mean number of 22 episodes. At 12 months, freedom from atrial fibrillation ranged from 25.5% to 73.1%, based on a duration threshold from 30 seconds up to 24 hours. Of patients with a first episode of 30 seconds to two minutes, 35.8% were free from subsequent episodes greater than two minutes at 180 days. The mean atrial fibrillation burden of 0.2% for patients with first episodes between 30 seconds and 3.8 hours, was significantly less than the 9.5% burden for those with greater than 3.8 hours.

The authors concluded that small differences in atrial fibrillation episode duration definition can significantly affect the perceived incidents of atrial fibrillation impact reported outcomes, including atrial fibrillation success. An initial atrial fibrillation episode of 30 seconds does not predict clinically meaningful atrial fibrillation burden.

In the next paper, Hongwu Chen and Linsheng Shi and associates examined the distinct electrophysiologic features of bundle branch reentrant ventricular tachycardia in patients without structural heart disease. They described nine patients, mean age 29.6 years, with normal left ventricular function and bundle branch reentrant ventricular tachycardia, with a right bundle branch block pattern in one patient, and left bundle branch block patterns in nine patients. In all left bundle branch block pattern ventricular tachycardia, the mean ventricular tachycardia cycling was 329.3 milliseconds, and the median HV interval during tachycardia was longer than that of baseline, 78 versus 71 milliseconds.

The H to right bundle interval during ventricular tachycardia was slightly shorter, however, the right bundle to ventricular interval was markedly longer than that during sinus rhythm, 50 versus 30 milliseconds. In six patients with three dimensional mapping of the left ventricle, a slow anterograde, or retrograde conduction over the left His-Purkinje system with normal myocardial voltage was identified. In addition, Purkinje related ventricular tachycardias were also induced in five patients. Ablation was applied to the distal left bundle branch block in patients with baseline left bundle branch block, and in one narrow QRS patient with sustained Purkinje related ventricular tachycardia, while right bundle branch was targeted in other patients. During a mean follow up at 31.4 months, frequent premature ventricular contractions occurred in one patient, and new ventricular tachycardia developed in the other patient.

In the next paper, Michel Haissaguerre and associates examined detailed mapping in 24 patients who survived idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. They used multi-electrode body surface recordings to identify the drivers maintaining ventricular fibrillation, and analyze electrograms in the driver regions, using endocardial and epicardial catheter mapping during sinus rhythm. Ventricular fibrillation occurred spontaneous in three patients, and was induced in 16, while VF was non-inducible in five. Ventricular fibrillation mapping demonstrated reentrant and focal activities, 87% and 13% respectively. The activities were dominant in one ventricle in nine patients, while they were biventricular in the others.

During sinus rhythm, areas of abnormal electrograms were identified in 15 out of 24 patients, or 62.5%, revealing localized structural alterations, in the right ventricle in 11, the left ventricle in one, in both in three. They covered a limited surface, 13 centimeters squared, representing 5% of the total surface, and recorded predominantly on the epicardium. 76% of these areas were co-located with ventricular fibrillation drivers. In nine patients without structural alterations, the authors observed a high incidence of Purkinje triggers, seven out of nine, versus four out of 15. Catheter ablation resulted in arrhythmia-free outcomes in 15 out of 18 patients at a 17 month follow up.

In our next paper, David Spar and associates describe the effectiveness, safety, and compliance of the wearable cardioverter defibrillator in the identification and treatment of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias in all US pediatric patients who wore a wearable defibrillator from 2009 to 2016, ages less than 18 years. The 455 patients had a median age of 15 years, median duration of wearable cardioverter defibrillator use of 33 days, and median patient wear time of 20.6 hours per day. The study population was divided into two groups, 63 patients with an ICD problem, or 392 patients without an ICD problem. The wear time was greater than 20 hours in both groups. There were seven deaths, or 1.5%. All patients were not wearing the wearable cardioverter defibrillator at the time of death. Eight patients, 1.8%, received at least one wearable cardioverter defibrillator shock treatment. Of the six patients who had appropriate therapy, there were seven episodes of either polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, or ventricular fibrillation, with a total of 13 treatments delivered. All episodes were successfully converted, and the patient survived.

In our next paper, Marc Lemoine and associates used human-induced pluripotential stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to examine differences in repolarization reserve. The authors compared the contribution of IKs and IKr on action potential durations in human left ventricular tissue, and the human induced pluripotential stem cell derived cardiomyocytes, or IPS-derived engineered heart tissue. They found that the IPS-derived heart tissue showed spontaneous diastolic depolarization in action potential duration, which were sensitive to low concentrations of Ivabradine. IKr block by E-4031 prolonged action potential duration 90 with similar EC50 in both the IPS-derived heart tissue and the human left ventricular tissue. But a larger effect size in the IPS-derived heart tissue, 281 milliseconds versus 110 milliseconds, in the human left ventricular tissue. While IKr block alone evoked early after depolarizations, it triggered activity in 50% of the IPS-derived heart tissue. Slow pacing reduced extracellular potassium blocking of IKr, IKs and IK1 were necessary to induce early after depolarizations in human left ventricular tissue. In accordance with their clinical safety, Moxifloxacin and Verapamil did not induce EADs in IPS-derived heart tissue. In both IPS-derived heart tissue and human left ventricular tissue, IKs block by HMR 1556 prolonged action potential duration 90 slightly in the combined presence of E-4031 and isoprenaline.

In our next paper, Elizabeth Saarel and associates sought to obtain contemporary digital ECG measurements in healthy children from North America to evaluate the effects of sex and race, and to compare the results to commonly published data sets, using 2400 digital ECGs, collected for children less than 18 years of age with normal electrocardiograms at 19 centers in the pediatric heart network. The authors found that the QTc in lead II was greater for females compared to males for age groups three years or older, for whites compared to African Americans, for ages 12 years or older. The R wave amplitude in V6 was greater for males compared to females for age groups 12 years and greater; for African Americans compared to white or other race categories for age groups three years or greater; and greater compared to commonly used public data set groups for ages 12 years and greater.

In our next paper, Pyotr Platonov and associates examined T-wave morphology as a possible predictor of cardiac events in patients with type 2 long QT syndrome mutation carriers with normal QTc intervals. The authors compared 154 LQT2 mutation carriers with QTc less than 360 milliseconds in men, and less than 470 milliseconds in women, with 1007 unaffected family members. Flat, notched, or negative T-waves in leads II or V5 on baseline ECG were considered abnormal. Using Cox regression analysis, the associations between T-wave morphology, the presence in mutations in the poor region of KCNH2, and the risk of cardiac events defined that syncope aborted cardiac arrest, defibrillator therapy, or sudden cardiac arrests were assessed. The authors found that LQT2 female carriers with abnormal T-wave morphology had a threefold increased risk of cardiac events compared to LQT2 female carriers with normal T-waves, while this association was not seen in males. LQT2 males with poor location of mutations had a six-fold increased risk of cardiac events than non-poor location males, while no such association was found in females.

In our last paper, Yaniv Bar-Cohen and associates describe a percutaneous pacemaker entirely implanted in the pericardium, using a sheath for sub-xiphoid access to the pericardial space, and a miniaturized camera with fiber optic illumination, the micro-pacemakers were successfully implanted in six pigs. All animals were studied during follow up, survived without symptoms.

That's it for this month. We hope that you'll find the Journal to be the go-to place for everyone interested in the field. See you next time!

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