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Symptomatic atrial arrhythmias and transcatheter closure of atrial septal defects in adult patients
  1. C K Silversides,
  2. S C Siu,
  3. P R McLaughlin,
  4. K L Haberer,
  5. G D Webb,
  6. L Benson,
  7. L Harris
  1. Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults, University Health Network, Toronto, and the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Louise Harris
    University Health Network, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre 3–562, 150 Gerrard Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4, Canada;


Objective: To determine whether transcatheter device closure of a secundum atrial septal defect (ASD) will reduce the risk of developing subsequent atrial arrhythmias.

Design: The incidence and predictors of symptomatic atrial tachyarrhythmias (AT) were examined in adults undergoing transcatheter closure of ASDs.

Setting: Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults.

Patients: 132 consecutive patients, mean (SD) age 44 (16) years; 74% female.

Main outcome measure: Sustained or symptomatic atrial arrhythmias at early follow up (six weeks; n  =  115) and intermediate follow up (last clinic visit 17 (11) months post surgery; n  =  121).

Results: 15% of the patients (20 of 132) had AT before the procedure (14 paroxysmal, six persistent). Patients without a history of arrhythmia had a low incidence of AT during early follow up (6%) and intermediate follow up (1%/year), while all patients with persistent AT before closure remained in atrial fibrillation or flutter. Of patients in sinus rhythm but with a previous history of AT, two thirds remained arrhythmia-free at follow up, with overall incidences of paroxysmal and persistent AT of 17%/year and 11%/year. A history of AT before closure (risk ratio (RR) 35.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.2 to 169.0) and age ⩾ 55 years at the time of device insertion (RR 5.6, 95% CI 1.2 to 25.0) predicted AT after closure.

Conclusions: Device closure of an ASD before the onset of atrial arrhythmias may protect against the subsequent development of arrhythmia, in particular in patients less than 55 years of age.

  • arrhythmia
  • atrial septal defect
  • congenital heart defect

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