Shortening of atrioventricular delay at increased atrial paced heart rates improves diastolic filling and functional class in patients with biventricular pacing

Reza Rafie, Salima Qamruddin, Ali Ozhand, Nima Taha, Tasneem Z. Naqvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Use of rate adaptive atrioventricular (AV) delay remains controversial in patients with biventricular (Biv) pacing. We hypothesized that a shortened AV delay would provide optimal diastolic filling by allowing separation of early and late diastolic filling at increased heart rate (HR) in these patients. Methods. 34 patients (75 11 yrs, 24 M, LVEF 34 12%) with Biv and atrial pacing had optimal AV delay determined at baseline HR by Doppler echocardiography. Atrial pacing rate was then increased in 10 bpm increments to a maximum of 90 bpm. At each atrial pacing HR, optimal AV delay was determined by changing AV delay until best E and A wave separation was seen on mitral inflow pulsed wave (PW) Doppler (defined as increased atrial duration from baseline or prior pacemaker setting with minimal atrial truncation). Left ventricular (LV) systolic ejection time and velocity time integral (VTI) at fixed and optimal AV delay was also tested in 13 patients. Rate adaptive AV delay was then programmed according to the optimal AV delay at the highest HR tested and patients were followed for 1 month to assess change in NYHA class and Quality of Life Score as assessed by Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire. Results: 81 AV delays were evaluated at different atrial pacing rates. Optimal AV delay decreased as atrial paced HR increased (201 ms at 60 bpm, 187 ms at 70 bpm, 146 ms at 80 bpm and 123 ms at 90 bpm (ANOVA F-statistic = 15, p = 0.0010). Diastolic filling time (P < 0.001 vs. fixed AV delay), mitral inflow VTI (p < 0.05 vs fixed AV delay) and systolic ejection time (p < 0.02 vs. fixed AV delay) improved by 14%, 5% and 4% respectively at optimal versus fixed AV delay at the same HR. NYHA improved from 2.6 0.7 at baseline to 1.7 0.8 (p < 0.01) 1 month post optimization. Physical component of Quality of Life Score improved from 32 17 at baseline to 25 12 (p < 0.05) at follow up. Conclusions: Increased heart rate by atrial pacing in patients with Biv pacing causes compromise in diastolic filling time which can be improved by AV delay shortening. Aggressive AV delay shortening was required at heart rates in physiologic range to achieve optimal diastolic filling and was associated with an increase in LV ejection time during optimization. Functional class improved at 1 month post optimization using aggressive AV delay shortening algorithm derived from echo-guidance at the time of Biv pacemaker optimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalCardiovascular ultrasound
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Biventricular pacemaker
  • Diastolic Function
  • Doppler
  • Echocardiography
  • Rate Adaptive AV Delay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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