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Increasing Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation and Permanent Atrial Arrhythmias in Congenital Heart Disease. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017 Aug 15;70(7):857-865



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85025830688 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   97 Citations


BACKGROUND: Atrial arrhythmias are the most common complication encountered in the growing and aging population with congenital heart disease.

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess the types and patterns of atrial arrhythmias, associated factors, and age-related trends.

METHODS: A multicenter cohort study enrolled 482 patients with congenital heart disease and atrial arrhythmias, age 32.0 ± 18.0 years, 45.2% female, from 12 North American centers. Qualifying arrhythmias were classified by a blinded adjudicating committee.

RESULTS: The most common presenting arrhythmia was intra-atrial re-entrant tachycardia (IART) (61.6%), followed by atrial fibrillation (28.8%), and focal atrial tachycardia (9.5%). The proportion of arrhythmias due to IART increased with congenital heart disease complexity from 47.2% to 62.1% to 67.0% in patients with simple, moderate, and complex defects, respectively (p = 0.0013). Atrial fibrillation increased with age to surpass IART as the most common arrhythmia in those ≥50 years of age (51.2% vs. 44.2%; p < 0.0001). Older age (odds ratio [OR]: 1.024 per year; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.010 to 1.039; p = 0.001) and hypertension (OR: 2.00; 95% CI: 1.08 to 3.71; p = 0.029) were independently associated with atrial fibrillation. During a mean follow-up of 11.3 ± 9.4 years, the predominant arrhythmia pattern was paroxysmal in 62.3%, persistent in 28.2%, and permanent in 9.5%. Permanent atrial arrhythmias increased with age from 3.1% to 22.6% in patients <20 years to ≥50 years, respectively (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: IART is the most common presenting atrial arrhythmia in patients with congenital heart disease, with a predominantly paroxysmal pattern. However, atrial fibrillation increases in prevalence and atrial arrhythmias progressively become permanent as the population ages.

Author List

Labombarda F, Hamilton R, Shohoudi A, Aboulhosn J, Broberg CS, Chaix MA, Cohen S, Cook S, Dore A, Fernandes SM, Fournier A, Kay J, Macle L, Mondésert B, Mongeon FP, Opotowsky AR, Proietti A, Rivard L, Ting J, Thibault B, Zaidi A, Khairy P, AARCC


Scott B. Cohen MD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Age Factors
Atrial Fibrillation
Follow-Up Studies
Heart Conduction System
Heart Defects, Congenital
Retrospective Studies
Risk Assessment
Tachycardia, Supraventricular
Young Adult