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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2015 May;47(5):840-6. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezu252. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Annual atrial tachyarrhythmia burden determined by device interrogation in patients with cardiac implanted electronic devices is associated with a risk of ischaemic stroke independent of known risk factors.

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Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Division of Cardiology, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan.
Division of Cardiology, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan Department of Cardiology, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Xiamen, China



This study evaluated the risk of non-fatal ischaemic stroke associated with increased long-term cumulative duration of atrial tachycardia (AT).


We retrospectively reviewed the records of 260 patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic devices capable of monitoring AT. Patients were separated into zero, low and high AT burden groups. The cut-off point between low and high AT burden was defined by the median value of AT burden in the non-zero AT burden groups (5% in 1 year, about 18 days annually). The primary outcome was non-fatal ischaemic stroke.


The mean patient age was 63.3 ± 13.7 years, the average follow-up was 7.0 years and 10 patients had strokes. Multivariate analysis showed only hypertension and a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF) were associated with stroke. The risk of stroke in patients with hypertension was 12.57-fold higher than in those without hypertension, and was 20.81-fold higher in patients with paroxysmal AF and 162.59-fold higher in patients with chronic AF than in those without AF. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that stroke-free survival was significantly different in the three AT burden groups (P = 0.002, long-rank test); the rate was greatest in the zero AT burden group, followed by the low AT burden group and was lowest in the high AT burden group.


Patients who accumulated an AT duration exceeding 5% (18 days) of the total time in any of the 1-year periods are more likely to have an ischaemic stroke than those who have a low or zero AT burden.


Atrial fibrillation; Atrial tachyarrhythmia; Cardiac implantable device; Ischaemic stroke

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