Long-term safety and efficacy of renal sympathetic denervation in atrial fibrillation: 3-year results of the AFFORD study

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Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia which has been associated with increased sympathetic nervous system activity and hypertension. Recent evidence indicated that renal sympathetic denervation (RDN) could safely contribute to an improvement in AF burden. Objective: To investigate the long-term safety and efficacy of radiofrequency RDN in hypertensive patients with symptomatic AF. Methods: This pilot study included patients with symptomatic paroxysmal or persistent AF (European Hearth Rhythm Association class ≥ II) despite optimal medical therapy, office systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥ 140 mmHg and ≥ 2 antihypertensive drugs. AF burden was measured using an implantable cardiac monitor (ICM), implanted 3 months prior to RDN. ICM interrogation and 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring were performed at baseline and at 3/6/12/24/36 months post RDN. The primary efficacy outcome was daily AF burden. Statistical analyses were performed using Poisson and negative binomial models. Results: A total of 20 patients with a median age [25th–75th percentiles] of 66.2 [61.2–70.8] years (55% female) were included. At baseline, office BP ± standard deviation (SD) was 153.8/87.5 ± 15.2/10.4 mmHg, while mean 24-h ambulatory BP was 129.5/77.3 ± 15.5/9.3 mmHg. Baseline daily AF burden was 1.4 [0.0–10.9] minutes/day and throughout a 3-year follow-up period, no significant change was observed (− 15.4%/year; 95% confidence interval (CI) − 50.2%, + 43.7%; p = 0.54). The number of defined daily doses of antiarrhythmic drugs and antihypertensive drugs remained stable over time, while mean 24-h ambulatory systolic BP decreased with − 2.2 (95% CI − 3.9, − 0.6; p = 0.01) mmHg/year. Conclusions: In patients with hypertension and symptomatic AF, stand-alone RDN reduced BP but did not significantly reduce AF burden up until 3 years of follow-up. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1766-1777
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Research in Cardiology
Issue number12
Early online date25 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by St. Jude Medical (St Paul, MN, USA)/Abbott Vascular (Santa Clara, California, USA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


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