Newly detected atrial high rate episodes predict long-term mortality outcomes in patients with permanent pacemakers

Maday Gonzalez, Richard J. Keating, Steven M. Markowitz, Christopher F. Liu, George Thomas, James E. Ip, Bruce B. Lerman, Jim W. Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Methods We evaluated 224 patients (mean age 74 ± 12 years; 118 men [53%]) with no history of AF who underwent dual-chamber pacemaker implantation from 2002 through 2004. During follow-up, patients with AHREs of ≥5-minute duration were identified. Mortality data were obtained from the National Death Index.

Results Thirty-nine patients (17%) had AHREs of ≥5-minute duration within 6 months of pacemaker implantation. Over a mean follow-up period of 6.6 ± 2.0 years, the rate of all-cause mortality was 29%. In multivariate analysis adjusted for age, sex, and cardiovascular diseases, AHREs were associated with a significant increase in cardiovascular mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 2.80; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24-6.31; P =.013) and stroke mortality (HR 9.65; 95% CI 1.56-59.9; P =.015), with a trend toward increased all-cause mortality (HR 1.79; 95% CI 0.98-3.26; P =.059). The subgroup of patients with AHREs of ≥5-minute but <1-day duration still had a significantly increased cardiovascular mortality (HR 3.24; 95% CI 1.37-7.66; P =.007).

Conclusion AHREs are commonly encountered in pacemaker patients with no history of AF and are independent predictors of cardiovascular mortality.

Background Subclinical atrial high rate episodes (AHREs) detected by implanted devices in patients with no history of atrial fibrillation (AF) have been associated with an increased risk of stroke and systemic embolism. Data regarding the long-term survival of patients with permanent pacemakers and newly detected AHREs are limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2214-2221
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Mortality
  • Permanent pacemaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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