Last updated on September 2018

Renal Sympathetic Denervation Prevents Atrial Fibrillation in Patients With Hypertensive Heart Disease: a Pilot Study


Brief description of study

The autonomic nervous system plays an important role in the precipitation of AF in structurally-abnormal hearts. Restoration of autonomic imbalance may therefore prevent new-onset AF.

Renal artery denervation (RDN) is a novel percutaneous procedure that uses radio-frequency energy to destroy the sympathetic renal nerves. Symplicity 1 and -2 studies have shown that RDN effectively reduces blood pressure in up to 80% of treated patients. LVH regression and improvement of diastolic dysfunction follow as a consequence of afterload reduction and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system modulation. RDN may thus also reduce intra-atrial pressure resulting in less stretch of the pulmonary venous ostia where most ectopic AF-foci originate.

Hypothesis: RDN restores autonomic imbalance in HTHD and lowers intra-atrial pressure by reducing afterload. These synergistic mechanisms may prevent new-onset AF.

Detailed Study Description

One hundred consenting patients meeting all inclusion criteria will undergo an exercise stress test, 2D and M-Mode echocardiograms and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure holter monitoring prior to being randomised to receive either renal denervation (RDN) with a Symplicity renal denervation catheter plus medical therapy or medical therapy alone. Coronary angiography with/without coronary revascularisation will be performed as per the treating cardiologist's clinical judgement and a Reveal holter will be implanted in all patients at the end of the procedure.

Time zero will be defined as starting at three months after the procedure. Follow up visits will be scheduled to scan the holter for the primary end point, i.e. high atrial rates (AF-surrogate defined as: "episodes of atrial rate >190 beats per minute for more than 6 minutes") or new-onset AF. Patients will be followed six monthly for three years.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT01990911

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Paul A Brink, MBChB; PhD

Pace Clinic
Cape Town, South Africa
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