Atrial Fibrillation, Ventricular Arrhythmia, and Left Ventricular Remodeling in the ICU – First Results of the Single- Center RHYTHM-ACC Registry

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The aim of this study was to investigate the association between left ventricular remodeling, atrial fibrillation (AF), and the severity of ventricular tachycardia (VT) in patients with ventricular rhythm disturbances admitted in a level 3 facility of acute cardiac care. Material and Methods: The RHYTHM-ACC registry was a single-center observational study, including 150 consecutive patients with sustained or non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (sVT and nsVT, respectively) admitted in an intensive cardiac care unit (ICCU), separated in: group 1 - 29 patients (21.01%) with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and group 2 - 109 patients (78.99%) with normal ventricular performance. We investigated the difference between clinical characteristics of patients with sVT versus those with nsVT in each study group, and the association between AF and different forms of ventricular arrhythmia in 38 (25.33%) patients with AF and 112 (74.66%) patients in sinus rhythm. Results: There were no significant differences between the study groups with respect to type of ventricular arrhythmia: sVT (46.87% vs. 36.44%, p = 0.2), nsVT (43.75% vs. 55.93%, p = 0.2), or ventricular fibrillation (VF) (9.37% vs. 7.62%, p = 0.7). However, patients with DCM presented a significantly higher incidence of AF (43.75% vs. 20.33%, p = 0.01) and bundle branch block (37.5% vs. 11.86%, p = 0.0007). VF occurred more frequently in patients with AF compared to those in sinus rhythm (18.42% vs. 4.46%, p = 0.006). Multivariate analysis identified the co-existence of AF (OR = 4.8, p = 0.01) and the presence of a bundle branch block (BBB) (OR = 3.9, p = 0.03) as the most powerful predictors for the degeneration of VT into VF in patients admitted with sVT or nsVT in an ICCU unit. Conclusions: In patients with any type of VT admitted in an ICCU, the presence of ventricular remodeling is associated with a higher incidence of AF and conduction abnormalities, but not with a more severe pattern of ventricular arrhythmia. At the same time, AF and BBB seem to represent the most powerful predictors for degeneration of VT into VF, independent of the type of VT.

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