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1.  Atrial fibrillation burden in Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 patients implanted with dual chamber pacemaker: the efficacy of the overdrive atrial algorithm at 2 year follow-up 
Acta Myologica  2013;32(3):142-147.
The role that atrial pacing therapy plays on the atrial fibrillation (AF) burden is still unclear. Aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of the atrial preference pacing algorithm on AF burden in patients affected by Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 (DM1) followed for a long follow up period. Sixty DM1 patients were -implanted with a dual chamber pacemaker (PM) for first degree or symptomatic type 1/type 2 second degree atrio-ventricular blocks- were followed for 2-years after implantation, by periodical examination. After 1 month of stabilization, they were randomized into two groups: 1) Patients implanted with conventional dual-chamber pacing mode (DDDR group) and 2) Patients implanted with DDDR plus Atrial Preference Pacing (APP) algorithm (APP ON group).
The results showed that atrial tachycardia (AT)/AF burden was significantly reduced at 1 year follow up in the APP ON group (2122 ± 428 minutes vs 4127 ± 388 minutes, P = 0.03), with a further reduction at the end of the 2 year follow up period (4652 ± 348 minutes vs 7564 ± 638 minutes, P = 0.005).
The data here reported show that the APP is an efficient algorithm to reduce AT/AF burden in DM1 patients implanted with dual chamber pacemaker.
PMCID: PMC4006281  PMID: 24803841
Atrial overdrive algorithm; atrial preference pacing; supraventricular tachyarrhythmias; Myotonic Dystrophy type 1
2.  Right versus left atrial pacing in patients with sick sinus syndrome and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (Riverleft study): study protocol for randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):445.
The incidence of sick sinus syndrome will increase due to population ageing. Consequently, this will result in an increase in the number of pacemaker implantations. The atrial lead is usually implanted in the right atrial appendage, but this position may be ineffective for prevention of atrial fibrillation. It has been suggested that pacing distally in the coronary sinus might be more successful in preventing atrial fibrillation episodes. The aim of this trial is to study the efficacy of distal coronary sinus versus right atrial appendage pacing in preventing atrial fibrillation episodes in patients with sick sinus syndrome.
This study is designed as a multicenter, randomized controlled trial. Patients with sick sinus syndrome and at least one atrial fibrillation episode of 30 seconds or more in the six months before recruitment will be eligible for participation in this study.
All participants will be randomized between pacing distally in the coronary sinus and right atrial appendage. Randomization is stratified for all participating centers. Conventional dual-chamber pacemakers with advanced home monitoring functionality will be implanted. The ventricular lead will be implanted in the right ventricular apex. The first three months of the 36-month follow-up period are considered as run-in time. During the pre-randomization visit and follow-up, an interview, electrocardiogram and pacemaker assessment will be performed, prescribed antiarrhythmic medication will be reviewed and patients will be asked to complete an SF-36 questionnaire. An echocardiographic examination will be conducted in the pre-randomization phase and at the end of each follow-up year. Home monitoring will be used to send daily reports in case of atrial fibrillation episodes.
This randomized controlled trial is the first in which home monitoring will be used to compare atrial fibrillation recurrences between pacing in the distal coronary sinus or right atrial appendage. Home monitoring gives the opportunity to accurately detect atrial fibrillation episodes and to study characteristics of atrial fibrillation episodes. Should distal coronary sinus pacing significantly diminish atrial fibrillation recurrences, this study will redefine the preferential location of an atrial lead for preventive pacing.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN65911661, registered on 8 July 2013.
PMCID: PMC4247220  PMID: 25403703
Sick sinus syndrome; Drug-induced bradycardia; Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation; Brady-tachy syndrome; Preventive pacing; Coronary sinus pacing; Right atrial appendage pacing; Remote monitoring; Atrial burden
3.  Is there a synergic effect of propafenone associated with atrial overdrive pacing for atrial arrhythmia prevention? A randomised crossover study 
Heart  2000;83(2):172-177.
OBJECTIVE—To assess the effect of adding propafenone to atrial overdrive for the prevention of atrial arrhythmia episodes in patients with DDD pacemakers.
DESIGN—22 patients (8 female, 14 male, mean (SD) age 67 (9) years, range 48 to 77) with DDD pacemakers and frequent paroxysmal atrial arrhythmia episodes were evaluated in a randomised crossover study.
SETTING—University hospital.
METHODS—Atrial overdrive was defined as a paced rate of 10 paced beats/min above the mean ventricular rate stored for the last 24 hours in the pacemaker memory function. The protocol consisted of two phases of one month each. The first phase consisted of atrial overdrive alone, while in the second phase, propafenone (600 mg/day) was added to atrial overdrive (atrial overdrive + propafenone). All 22 patients underwent the two phases in random order.
RESULTS—Mean ventricular rate was 72 (8) beats/min with atrial overdrive v 73 (6) with atrial overdrive + propafenone (NS). With atrial overdrive, 14 patients (64.6%) had no recorded atrial arrhythmia v 15 (68.2%) with atrial overdrive + propafenone (NS). There was no statistical difference between the atrial overdrive and atrial overdrive + propafenone phases with regard to the number of atrial arrhythmia episodes (14 (27) v 13 (28)), their total duration (30 (78) v 29 (63) h), and their maximum duration (41 (72) v 31 (58) min). However, in the brady-tachy subgroup with persistent atrial arrhythmias, atrial overdrive + propafenone produced a shorter mean cumulative duration of atrial arrhythmia than atrial overdrive (104 (115) v 178 (149) h, p = 0.04), with a significant decrease in the number of atrial arrhythmia episodes (134 (98) v 102 (83), p = 0.05). The proportion of asymptomatic atrial arrhythmia episodes increased only in the AV block group during atrial overdrive + propafenone (p = 0.03). Three patients had atrial arrhythmias during atrial overdrive + propafenone but not with atrial overdrive alone.
CONCLUSIONS—In DDD paced patients, the overall effect of propafenone during atrial overdrive is variable. Propafenone may increase the proportion of asymptomatic atrial arrhythmia episodes. A proarrhythmic effect of propafenone was documented (aggravation of atrial arrhythmias). These results need to be confirmed by further larger randomised studies.

Keywords: dual chamber pacing; atrial overdrive pacing; atrial arrhythmia; propafenone
PMCID: PMC1729316  PMID: 10648490
4.  Effect of atrial antitachycardia pacing treatments in patients with an atrial defibrillator: randomised study comparing subthreshold and nominal pacing outputs 
Heart  2002;87(5):433-437.
Objective: To assess the true efficacy of antitachycardia pacing on spontaneous persistent atrial fibrillation in patients with an implanted atrial defibrillator, by comparing the effects of nominal pacing treatment with subthreshold pacing treatment.
Design: The effects of antitachycardia pacing and burst 50 Hz atrial pacing on spontaneous atrial arrhythmias were evaluated six months after implantation of a Medtronic Jewel AF® atrial defibrillator.
Setting: Cardiology department in a district general hospital.
Patients: 15 patients with persistent atrial fibrillation.
Interventions: Patients were randomised to either “nominal” output pacing treatment or surface ECG and endocardial electrogram proven subthreshold “sham” pacing treatment for three months, and then crossed over to the alternative treatment for a further three months.
Results: During the nominal output phase, 31 episodes of atrial fibrillation were treated with 53 bursts of 50 Hz pacing, 98 sequences of ramp atrial pacing, and 61 sequences of burst atrial pacing. Atrial fibrillation was not pace terminated during any episode. Thirty one episodes of atrial tachycardia were treated with 19 bursts of 50 Hz atrial pacing, 103 sequences of ramp atrial pacing, and 38 sequences of burst atrial pacing. Termination of atrial tachycardia was observed in 17 episodes. During the “sham” pacing period, no episodes were terminated by any pacing treatment.
Conclusion: Atrial antitachycardia pacing treatments are ineffective at terminating persistent atrial fibrillation but may be useful in terminating episodes of atrial tachycardia or flutter, thus reducing the burden of arrhythmia.
PMCID: PMC1767101  PMID: 11997413
atrial fibrillation; antitachycardia pacing; atrial defibrillator
5.  Non-pharmacological Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation† 
In selected patients with atrial fibrillation and severe symptoms, non-pharmacological treatment may be an alternative or supplement to drug therapy. Atrioventricular nodal radiofrequency ablation (requires pacemaker implantation), or atrial pacing for sick sinus syndrome, are established treatment modalities. All other non-pharmacological therapies for atrial fibrillation are still experimental. After the Maze operation, atrial depolarization has to follow one specific path determined by surgical scars in the myocardium. This prevents new episodes of atrial fibrillation, but at a cost of perioperative morbidity and mortality. Catheter-based "Maze-like" radiofrequency ablation is technically difficult, and thrombo-embolic complications may occur. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation sometimes is initiated by spontaneous depolarizations in a pulmonary vein inlet. Radio frequency ablation against such focal activity has been reported with high therapeutic success, but the results await confirmation from several centres. For ventricular rate control, most electrophysiologists presently prefer ablation to induce a complete atrioventricular conduction block (with pacemaker) rather than trying to modify conduction by incomplete block. Atrial or dual chamber pacing may prevent atrial fibrillation induced by bradycardia. It remains to confirm that biatrial or multisite right atrial pacing prevents atrial fibrillation more efficiently than ordinary right atrial pacing. An atrial defibrillator is able to diagnose and convert atrial fibrillation. The equipment is expensive, and therapy without sedation may be unpleasant beyond tolerability.
PMCID: PMC1569901  PMID: 17006572
6.  Pacemaker Prevention Therapy in Drug-refractory Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: Reliability of Diagnostics and Effectiveness of Prevention Pacing Therapy in Vitatron™ Selection® Device 
Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common and rising disorder of cardiac rhythm, is quite difficult to control and/or to treat. Non pharmacological therapies for AF may involve the use of dedicated pacing algorithms to detect and prevent atrial arrhythmia that could be a trigger for AF onset. Selection 900E/AF2.0 Vitatron DDDRP pacemaker (1) keeps an atrial arrhythmia diary thus providing detailed onset reports of arrhythmias of interest, (2) provides us data about the number of premature atrial contractions (PACs) and (3) plots heart rate in the 5 minutes preceding the detection of an atrial arrhythmia. Moreover, this device applies four dedicated pacing therapies to reduce the incidence of atrial arrhythmia and AF events.
Aim of the Study
To analyze the reliability to record atrial arrhythmias and evaluate effectiveness of its AF preventive pacing therapies.
Material and Methods
We enrolled 15 patients (9 males and 6 females, mean age of 71±5 years, NYHA class I-II), with a DDDRP pacemaker implanted for a “bradycardia-tachycardia” syndrome, with advanced atrioventricular conduction disturbances. We compared the number and duration of AF episodes’ stored in the device with a contemporaneous 24h Holter monitoring. After that, we switched on the atrial arrhythmias detecting algorithms, starting from an atrial rate over 180 beats per minute for at least 6 ventricular cycles, and ending with at least 10 ventricular cycles in sinus rhythm. Thereafter, in order to evaluate the possible reduction in PACs number and in number and duration of AF episodes, we tailored all the four pacing preventive algorithms. Patients were followed for 24±8 months (from 20 to 32 months).
All 59 atrial arrhythmia episodes occurred in the first part of this trial, were correctly recorded by both systems, with a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.96. During the follow-up, we observed a significant reduction not only in PACs number (from 83±12/day to 2.3±0.8/day) but also in AF episodes (from 46±7/day to 0.12±0.03/day) and AF burden (from 93%±6% to 0.3%±0.06%). An increase in atrial pacing percentages (from 3%±0.5% to 97%±3%) was also contemporaneously observed.
In this pacemaker, detection of atrial arrhythmia episodes is highly reliable, thus making available an appropriate monitoring of heart rhythm, mainly suitable in AF asymptomatic patients. Moreover, the significant reduction of atrial arrhythmia episodes indicates that this might represent a suitable therapeutic option for an effective preventive therapy of AF in paced brady-tachy patients.
PMCID: PMC1501106  PMID: 16943898
Sick Sinus Syndrome; Atrial Fibrillation; Atrial Pacing; Pacing Algorithms; Non-Pharmacological Therapy
7.  Biventricular Pacing (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) 
Executive Summary
In 2002, (before the establishment of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee), the Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a health technology policy assessment on biventricular (BiV) pacing, also called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). The goal of treatment with BiV pacing is to improve cardiac output for people in heart failure (HF) with conduction defect on ECG (wide QRS interval) by synchronizing ventricular contraction. The Medical Advisory Secretariat concluded that there was evidence of short (6 months) and longer-term (12 months) effectiveness in terms of cardiac function and quality of life (QoL). More recently, a hospital submitted an application to the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee to review CRT, and the Medical Advisory Secretariat subsequently updated its health technology assessment.
Chronic HF results from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the heart to act as a pump. It is estimated that 1% to 5% of the general population (all ages) in Europe have chronic HF. (1;2) About one-half of the patients with HF are women, and about 40% of men and 60% of women with this condition are aged older than 75 years.
The incidence (i.e., the number of new cases in a specified period) of chronic HF is age dependent: from 1 to 5 per 1,000 people each year in the total population, to as high as 30 to 40 per 1,000 people each year in those aged 75 years and older. Hence, in an aging society, the prevalence (i.e., the number of people with a given disease or condition at any time) of HF is increasing, despite a reduction in cardiovascular mortality.
A recent study revealed 28,702 patients were hospitalized for first-time HF in Ontario between April 1994 and March 1997. (3) Women comprised 51% of the cohort. Eighty-five percent were aged 65 years or older, and 58% were aged 75 years or older.
Patients with chronic HF experience shortness of breath, a limited capacity for exercise, high rates of hospitalization and rehospitalization, and die prematurely. (2;4) The New York Heart Association (NYHA) has provided a commonly used functional classification for the severity of HF (2;5):
Class I: No limitation of physical activity. No symptoms with ordinary exertion.
Class II: Slight limitations of physical activity. Ordinary activity causes symptoms.
Class III: Marked limitation of physical activity. Less than ordinary activity causes symptoms. Asymptomatic at rest.
Class IV: Inability to carry out any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms at rest.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimates that 35% of patients with HF are in functional NYHA class I; 35% are in class II; 25%, class III; and 5%, class IV. (5) Surveys (2) suggest that from 5% to 15% of patients with HF have persistent severe symptoms, and that the remainder of patients with HF is evenly divided between those with mild and moderately severe symptoms.
Overall, patients with chronic, stable HF have an annual mortality rate of about 10%. (2) One-third of patients with new-onset HF will die within 6 months of diagnosis. These patients do not survive to enter the pool of those with “chronic” HF. About 60% of patients with incident HF will die within 3 years, and there is limited evidence that the overall prognosis has improved in the last 15 years.
To date, the diagnosis and management of chronic HF has concentrated on patients with the clinical syndrome of HF accompanied by severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Major changes in treatment have resulted from a better understanding of the pathophysiology of HF and the results of large clinical trials. Treatment for chronic HF includes lifestyle management, drugs, cardiac surgery, or implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. Despite pharmacologic advances, which include diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, spironolactone, and digoxin, many patients remain symptomatic on maximally tolerated doses.
The Technology
Owing to the limitations of drug therapy, cardiac transplantation and device therapies have been used to try to improve QoL and survival of patients with chronic HF. Ventricular pacing is an emerging treatment option for patients with severe HF that does not respond well to medical therapy. Traditionally, indications for pacing include bradyarrhythmia, sick sinus syndrome, atrioventricular block, and other indications, including combined sick sinus syndrome with atrioventricular block and neurocardiogenic syncope. Recently, BiV pacing as a new, adjuvant therapy for patients with chronic HF and mechanical dyssynchrony has been investigated. Ventricular dysfunction is a sign of HF; and, if associated with severe intraventricular conduction delay, it can cause dyssynchronous ventricular contractions resulting in decreased ventricular filling. The therapeutic intent is to activate both ventricles simultaneously, thereby improving the mechanical efficiency of the ventricles.
About 30% of patients with chronic HF have intraventricular conduction defects. (6) These conduction abnormalities progress over time and lead to discoordinated contraction of an already hemodynamically compromised ventricle. Intraventricular conduction delay has been associated with clinical instability and an increased risk of death in patients with HF. (7) Hence, BiV pacing, which involves pacing left and right ventricles simultaneously, may provide a more coordinated pattern of ventricular contraction and thereby potentially reduce QRS duration, and intraventricular and interventricular asynchrony. People with advanced chronic HF, a wide QRS complex (i.e., the portion of the electrocardiogram comprising the Q, R, and S waves, together representing ventricular depolarization), low left ventricular ejection fraction and contraction dyssynchrony in a viable myocardium and normal sinus rhythm, are the target patients group for BiV pacing. One-half of all deaths in HF patients are sudden, and the mode of death is arrhythmic in most cases. Internal cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) combined with BiV pacemakers are therefore being increasingly considered for patients with HF who are at high risk of sudden death.
Current Implantation Technique for Cardiac Resynchronization
Conventional dual-chamber pacemakers have only 2 leads: 1 placed in the right atrium and the other in the right ventricle. The technique used for BiV pacemaker implantation also uses right atrial and ventricular pacing leads, in addition to a left ventricle lead advanced through the coronary sinus into a vein that runs along the ventricular free wall. This permits simultaneous pacing of both ventricles to allow resynchronization of the left ventricle septum and free wall.
Mode of Operation
Permanent pacing systems consist of an implantable pulse generator that contains a battery and electronic circuitry, together with 1 (single-chamber pacemaker) or 2 (dual-chamber pacemaker) leads. Leads conduct intrinsic atrial or ventricular signals to the sensing circuitry and deliver the pulse generator charge to the myocardium (muscle of the heart).
Complications of Biventricular Pacemaker Implantation
The complications that may arise when a BiV pacemaker is implanted are similar to those that occur with standard pacemaker implantation, including pneumothorax, perforation of the great vessels or the myocardium, air embolus, infection, bleeding, and arrhythmias. Moreover, left ventricular pacing through the coronary sinus can be associated with rupture of the sinus as another complication.
Conclusion of 2003 Review of Biventricular Pacemakers by the Medical Advisory Secretariat
The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) the Medical Advisory Secretariat retrieved analyzed chronic HF patients that were assessed for up to 6 months. Other studies have been prospective, but nonrandomized, not double-blinded, uncontrolled and/or have had a limited or uncalculated sample size. Short-term studies have focused on acute hemodynamic analyses. The authors of the RCTs reported improved cardiac function and QoL up to 6 months after BiV pacemaker implantation; therefore, there is level 1 evidence that patients in ventricular dyssynchrony who remain symptomatic after medication might benefit from this technology. Based on evidence made available to the Medical Advisory Secretariat by a manufacturer, (8) it appears that these 6-month improvements are maintained at 12-month follow-up.
To date, however, there is insufficient evidence to support the routine use of combined ICD/BiV devices in patients with chronic HF with prolonged QRS intervals.
Summary of Updated Findings Since the 2003 Review
Since the Medical Advisory Secretariat’s review in 2003 of biventricular pacemakers, 2 large RCTs have been published: COMPANION (9) and CARE-HF. (10) The characteristics of each trial are shown in Table 1. The COMPANION trial had a number of major methodological limitations compared with the CARE-HF trial.
Characteristics of the COMPANION and CARE-HF Trials*
BiV indicates biventricular; ICD, implantable cardioverter defibrillator; EF, ejection fraction; QRS, the interval representing the Q, R and S waves on an electrocardiogram; FDA, United States Food and Drug Administration.
Overall, CARE-HF showed that BiV pacing significantly improves mortality, QoL, and NYHA class in patients with severe HF and a wide QRS interval (Tables 2 and 3).
CARE-HF Results: Primary and Secondary Endpoints*
BiV indicates biventricular; NNT, number needed to treat.
Cleland JGF, Daubert J, Erdmann E, Freemantle N, Gras D, Kappenberger L et al. The effect of cardiac resynchronization on morbidity and mortality in heart failure (CARE-HF). New England Journal of Medicine 2005; 352:1539-1549; Copyright 2003 Massachusettes Medical Society. All rights reserved. (10)
CARE H-F Results: NYHA Class and Quality of Life Scores*
Minnesota Living with Heart Failure scores range from 0 to 105; higher scores reflect poorer QoL.
European Quality of Life–5 Dimensions scores range from -0.594 to 1.000; 1.000 indicates fully healthy; 0, dead
Cleland JGF, Daubert J, Erdmann E, Freemantle N, Gras D, Kappenberger L et al. The effect of cardiac resynchronization on morbidity and mortality in heart failure (CARE-HF). New England Journal of Medicine 2005; 352:1539-1549; Copyright 2005 Massachusettes Medical Society. All rights reserved.(10)
GRADE Quality of Evidence
The quality of these 3 trials was examined according to the GRADE Working Group criteria, (12) (Table 4).
Quality refers to criteria such as the adequacy of allocation concealment, blinding, and follow-up.
Consistency refers to the similarity of estimates of effect across studies. If there is an important unexplained inconsistency in the results, confidence in the estimate of effect for that outcome decreases. Differences in the direction of effect, the size of the differences in effect, and the significance of the differences guide the decision about whether important inconsistency exists.
Directness refers to the extent to which the people interventions and outcome measures are similar to those of interest. For example, there may be uncertainty about the directness of the evidence if the people of interest are older, sicker, or have more comorbid conditions than do the people in the studies.
As stated by the GRADE Working Group, (12) the following definitions were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
High: Further research is very unlikely to change our confidence on the estimate of effect.
Moderate: Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect and may change the estimate.
Low: Further research is very likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect and is likely to change the estimate.
Very low: Any estimate of effect is very uncertain.
Quality of Evidence: CARE-HF and COMPANION
Overall, there is evidence that BiV pacemakers are effective for improving mortality, QoL, and functional status in patients with NYHA class III/IV HF, an EF less than 0.35, a QRS interval greater than 120 ms, who are refractory to drug therapy.
As per the GRADE Working Group, recommendations considered the following 4 main factors:
The tradeoffs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome
The quality of the evidence (Table 4)
Translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise
Uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 5 shows the overall trade-off between benefits and harms and incorporates any risk/uncertainty.
For BiV pacing, the overall GRADE and strength of the recommendation is moderate: the quality of the evidence is moderate/high (because of some uncertainty due to methodological limitations in the study design, e.g., no blinding), but there is also some risk/uncertainty in terms of the estimated prevalence and wide cost-effectiveness estimates (Table 5).
For the combination BiV pacing/ICD, the overall GRADE and strength of the recommendation is weak—the quality of the evidence is low (because of uncertainty due to methodological limitations in the study design), but there is also some risk/uncertainty in terms of the estimated prevalence, high cost, and high budget impact (Table 5). There are indirect, low-quality comparisons of the effectiveness of BiV pacemakers compared with the combination BiV/ICD devices.
A stronger recommendation can be made for BiV pacing only compared with the combination BiV/ICD device for patients with an EF less than or equal to 0.35, and a QRS interval over or equal to 120 ms, and NYHA III/IV symptoms, and refractory to optimal medical therapy (Table 5).
There is moderate/high-quality evidence that BiV pacemakers significantly improve mortality, QoL, and functional status.
There is low-quality evidence that combined BiV/ICD devices significantly improve mortality, QoL, and functional status.
To date, there are no direct comparisons of the effectiveness of BiV pacemakers compared with the combined BiV/ICD devices in terms of mortality, QoL, and functional status.
Overall GRADE and Strength of Recommendation
BiV refers to biventricular; ICD, implantable cardioverter defibrillator; NNT, number needed to treat.
PMCID: PMC3382419  PMID: 23074464
8.  No incremental benefit of multisite atrial pacing compared with right atrial pacing in patients with drug refractory paroxysmal atrial fibrillation 
Heart  2001;85(1):48-52.
OBJECTIVE—To evaluate the incremental antifibrillatory effect of multisite atrial pacing compared with right atrial pacing in patients with drug refractory paroxysmal atrial fibrillation paced for arrhythmia prevention alone.
METHODS—In 20 of these patients (mean (SD) age 64 (8) years; 14 female, six male), a single blinded randomised crossover study was performed to investigate the incremental benefit of one month of multisite atrial pacing compared with one month of right atrial pacing. Outcomes included the number of episodes of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, their total duration obtained from pacemaker Holter memory, and quality of life using a cardiac specific questionnaire (the modified Karolinska questionnaire).
RESULTS—Comparing right atrial with multisite atrial pacing, there was no significant change in either the number of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation episodes (mean (SD): right atrial pacing 77 (98) episodes v multisite pacing 52 (78) episodes, NS) or their total duration (right atrial, 4.8 (5.4) days v multisite, 6.3 (9.8) days, NS). Quality of life scores compared with baseline status were equally improved by either pacing strategy (mean percentage improvement: right atrial, 38%, p = 0.003; multisite, 44%, p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in life scores comparing the two pacing modes.
CONCLUSIONS—Multisite atrial pacing has no incremental antiarrhythmic effect compared with right atrial pacing in patients paced for drug refractory paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Quality of life is equally improved with either pacing strategy, with no differences between them.

Keywords: multisite atrial pacing; atrial fibrillation; pacing
PMCID: PMC1729562  PMID: 11119461
9.  Dual chamber pacing: how many patients remain in DDD mode over the long term? 
British Heart Journal  1995;74(1):76-79.
OBJECTIVE--DDD pacing is better than VVI pacing in complete heart block and sick sinus syndrome but is more expensive and demanding. In addition, some patients have to be programmed out of DDD mode and this may have an important impact on the cost-effectiveness of DDD pacing. The purpose of this study was to determine how many patients remain in DDD mode over the long term (up to 10 years). DESIGN--A retrospective analysis of the outcome over 10 years of consecutive patients who had their pacemakers programmed initially in DDD mode. SETTING--A district general hospital. PATIENTS--249 patients with DDD pacemakers. Sixty two patients (24.9%) had predominantly sick sinus syndrome and 180 (72.3%) had predominantly atrioventricular conduction disease. Mean (range) complete follow up for this group of patients was 32 months (1-10 years). RESULTS--Cumulative survival of DDD mode was 83.5% at 60 months. Atrial fibrillation was the commonest reason for abandonment of DDD pacing. Atrial fibrillation developed in 30 patients (12%), with atrial flutter in three (1.2%). Loss of atrial sensing or pacing, pacemaker mediated tachycardia, and various other reasons accounted for reprogramming out of DDD mode in eight patients (3.2%). Overall, an atrial pacing mode was maintained in 91% and VVI pacing was needed in only 9%. CONCLUSIONS--With careful use of programming facilities and appropriate secondary intervention, most patients with dual chamber pacemakers can be maintained successfully in DDD or an alternative atrial pacing mode until elective replacement, although atrial arrhythmia remains a significant problem. There are no good reasons, other than cost, for not using dual chamber pacing routinely as suggested by recent guidelines and this policy can be achieved successfully in a district general hospital pacing centre.
PMCID: PMC483952  PMID: 7662461
10.  Induction of atrial fibrillation with rapid high voltage ventricular pacing for ventricular fibrillation conversion testing 
Heart  2000;83(2):178-180.
OBJECTIVE—To assess whether rapid high voltage ventricular pacing can also induce atrial fibrillation, and whether the induction of atrial fibrillation during ventricular fibrillation conversion testing is related to the patient's heart disease.
DESIGN—Prospective study of 50 patients who received the dual chamber implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) Ventak AV II DR (Guidant) as a first implant. This device can record atrial activity even during a ventricular fibrillation episode and can induce atrial fibrillation by rapid atrial bursts.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES—Frequency of atrial fibrillation after induction of ventricular fibrillation; clinical characteristics of patients with and without induced atrial fibrillation; frequency of atrial fibrillation induced by rapid atrial bursts during predischarge testing.
RESULTS—Atrial fibrillation was observed in 40 of the 217 ventricular fibrillation episodes (18%) that could be detected immediately after delivery of high voltage pacing. The biphasic ICD shock for termination of ventricular fibrillation also terminated the atrial fibrillation in all cases. The 40 episodes of simultaneous atrial and ventricular fibrillation occurred in 18 patients (36%). The distribution of the clinical characteristics of the patients and the inducibility of atrial fibrillation during predischarge testing were similar in those with and without induced atrial fibrillation.
CONCLUSIONS—Rapid high voltage ventricular pacing frequently induces atrial fibrillation, which was terminated by the subsequent biphasic ICD shock. The induction of atrial fibrillation seems to be a non-specific phenomenon, unrelated to the clinical status of the patient.

Keywords: dual chamber implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; atrial fibrillation induction; ventricular fibrillation conversion test; high voltage ventricular pacing; atrial burst pacing
PMCID: PMC1729296  PMID: 10648491
11.  Ablate and pace revisited: long term survival and predictors of permanent atrial fibrillation 
Heart  2003;89(9):1035-1038.
Objective: To assess long term mortality and identify factors associated with the development of permanent atrial fibrillation after atrioventricular (AV) node ablation for drug refractory paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: UK tertiary centre teaching hospital.
Patients: Patients admitted to the University Hospital Birmingham between January 1995 and December 2000.
Interventions: AV node ablation and dual chamber mode switching pacing.
Main outcome measures: Long term mortality and predictors of permanent atrial fibrillation, assessed through Kaplan-Meier curves and logistic regression.
Results: 114 patients (1995–2000) were included: age (mean (SD)), 65 (9) years; 55 (48%) male; left atrial diameter 4 (1) cm; left ventricular end diastolic diameter 5 (1) cm; ejection fraction 54 (17)%. Indications for AV node ablation were paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in 95 (83%) and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation/flutter in 19 (17%). The survival curve showed a low overall mortality after 72 months (10.5%). Fifty two per cent of patients progressed to permanent atrial fibrillation within 72 months. There was no difference in progression to permanency between paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation/flutter (log rank 0.06, p = 0.8). Logistic regression did not show any association between the variables collected and the development of permanent atrial fibrillation, although age over 80 years showed a trend (p = 0.07).
Conclusions: Ablate and pace is associated with a low overall mortality. No predictors of permanent atrial fibrillation were identified, but 48% of patients were still in sinus rhythm at 72 months. These results support the use of dual chamber pacing for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation patients after ablate and pace.
PMCID: PMC1767849  PMID: 12923021
atrial fibrillation; ablation; pacemaker; cardiac arrhythmia
12.  Early complications of permanent pacemaker implantation: no difference between dual and single chamber systems. 
British Heart Journal  1995;73(6):571-575.
OBJECTIVE--To evaluate the incidence of intraoperative and early postoperative complications (up to two months after implant) of endocardial permanent pacemaker insertion in all patients under-going a first implant at a referral centre. METHODS--Prospective evaluation of all endocardial pacemaker implantation procedures performed from April 1992 to January 1994 carried out by completion of standard audit form at implant. Patients' demographic data, medical history, details of pacemaker hardware used, and any complications were noted. Follow up information was also collected prospectively onto standard forms at pacemaker outpatient clinic. SETTING--United Kingdom tertiary referral cardiothoracic centre. PATIENTS--1088 consecutive patients underwent implantation of their first endocardial permanent pacemaker from April 1992 to January 1994. Implant and follow up data were available for 1059 (97.3%) patients at analysis. The median (range) age was 77 years (16-99); 51.2 % were male. RESULTS--Dual chamber units were implanted in 54.1% of patients, single chamber atrial in 5.2%, and ventricular in 40.7%. A temporary pacing lead was present at implant in 22.9% of patients. Most (93.6%) implants were performed via the subclavian vein. Immediate complications were rare: eight (0.8%) patients developed pneumothorax requiring medical treatment and 11 (1.0%) an insignificant pneumothorax. There was no significant difference in the pneumothorax rate for dual chamber (DDD) compared with single chamber systems. Arterial puncture without sequelae was documented in 2.7% of attempts at subclavian vein cannulation. A total of 35 patients (3.3%) required reoperation; the reoperation rate for dual chamber (3.5%) was similar to that for single chamber (3.1%) systems. Electrode displacement (n = 15, 1.4%) was the most common reason for reoperation. Atrial lead displacement (n = 10, 1.6% of atrial leads) was significantly more common than ventricular lead displacement (n = 5, 0.5% of ventricular leads, P = 0.047). There was no difference in electrode displacement rates for dual (1.6%) compared with single (1.2%) chamber systems. Pacemaker pocket infection led to reoperation in 10 patients (six dual, four single chamber, P = not significant) and was significantly more common in patients who had a temporary pacing lead in place at implant (2.9%) than in those who did not (0.4%, P = 0.0014). Five patients (0.5%) required reoperation for generator erosion (two dual, three single chamber, P = not significant). and a further five for drainage of haematoma or a serous fluid collection (three dual, two single chamber, P = not significant). Complications that did not require reoperation were also rare. Undersensing occurred in 10 patients (0.9%). Atrial undersensing (n = 8) was significantly more common than ventricular undersensing (n = 2, P = 0.017). All patients were successfully treated by reprogramming of sensitivity. Superficial wound infection was treated successfully with antibiotics in nine patients (six dual, three single chamber, P = not significant). Three patients with DDD generators developed sustained atrial fibrillation: two required reprogramming to VVI mode and one required cardioversion. CONCLUSIONS--Permanent pacing in a large tertiary referral centre with experienced operators carries a low risk. Infection rates are low, < 1% overall but significantly higher in patients who undergo temporary pacing before implantation. Lead displacement and undersensing are more likely to occur with atrial than ventricular leads. The overall complication rate for dual chamber pacing, however, is no higher than for single chamber pacing.
PMCID: PMC483922  PMID: 7626359
13.  Optimum pacing mode for patients with angina pectoris. 
British Heart Journal  1986;56(5):463-468.
A within patient double blind prospective study of symptoms and exercise tolerance was designed to determine the preferred pacing mode in 10 patients with programmable dual chamber pacemakers who also had angina pectoris. Patients were randomly allocated to one month in each of the following modes: ventricular pacing at 70 beats/min (VVI) or atrioventricular synchronous upper rate 150 beats/min (DDD 150) or 100 beats/min (DDD 100). Medications were unchanged throughout the study; none was taking beta blockers. At the end of each month patients underwent an exercise test. During each month patients recorded symptoms and their preferred pacing mode. DDD 100 was the preferred mode (seven patients). There was significantly less chest pain with this mode than with either of the other modes. There were significantly more episodes of dizziness in VVI, and two patients who developed pacemaker syndrome were unable to complete the pacing period. Three patients developed angina during exercise testing in DDD 150. Atrial synchronous ventricular pacing is better than ventricular pacing for the control of symptoms in patients with angina pectoris provided that the upper atrial tracking rate is limited.
PMCID: PMC1236894  PMID: 3790382
14.  Predictors of loss of atrioventricular synchrony in single lead VDD pacing 
Heart  1998;80(4):390-392.
Objective—To evaluate maintenance of proper VDD function, defined as persistence of sinus rhythm with atrial synchronous ventricular pacing, and to define factors predicting failure of the VDD mode in patients with atrioventricular (AV) block and normal sinus function.
Design—Observational study in 86 consecutive patients (mean (SD) age 74 (12) years; 38 women, 48 men) with single lead VDD pacing systems (Intermedics Unity, n = 66, Medtronic Thera VDD, n = 20), implanted for high degree AV block with documented normal sinus node. Pacemaker function was assessed by event counters, telemetric measurements, and Holter recordings. Demographic, radiological, and pacing variables were correlated with loss of proper VDD function.
Results—During a mean (SD) follow up of 10 (10) months (range 1-37), sinus rhythm and atrial triggered ventricular pacing were maintained in 70 of 86 patients (81%). Atrial undersensing was observed in nine patients, lead migration in two, atrial fibrillation in three, and symptomatic sinus bradycardia in two. Univariate predictors of loss of proper VDD function were: low position of the atrial dipole relative to the carina (⩾ 6 cm; p < 0.01) during fluoroscopy; and maximum programmable atrial sensitivity of the pacemaker (p = 0.03). In a multivariate analysis, only dipole position remained predictive of outcome (p < 0.02). Not predictive were sex, age, symptoms before pacemaker implantation, cardiothoracic ratio or dilatation of individual heart chambers on chest x ray, side of device implant, and P wave amplitude at implant.
Conclusions—To maintain proper VDD function in the long term, a low anatomical dipole position relative to the carina should be avoided. Electrical guidance of dipole positioning does not seem to influence long term outcome.

 Keywords: VDD pacing;  atrioventricular synchrony;  arrhythmias
PMCID: PMC1728818  PMID: 9875120
15.  "Subclinical" pacemaker syndrome: a randomised study of symptom free patients with ventricular demand (VVI) pacemakers upgraded to dual chamber devices. 
British Heart Journal  1992;67(1):57-64.
OBJECTIVE--To determine whether symptom free patients with single chamber pacemakers benefit from dual chamber pacing. DESIGN--A randomised double blind crossover comparison of ventricular demand (VVI), dual chamber demand (DDI), and dual chamber universal (DDD) modes after upgrading from a VVI device. SETTING--Cardiology outpatient department. PATIENTS--Sixteen patients aged 41-84 years who were symptom free during VVI mode pacing for three or more years. INTERVENTION--Pacemaker upgrade during routine generator change. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Change in subjective (general health perception, symptoms) and objective (clinical assessment, treadmill exercise, and radiological and echocardiographic indices) results between pacing modes before and after upgrading. RESULTS--75% preferred DDD, 68% found VVI least acceptable with 12% expressing no preference. Perceived general well-being and exercise capacity (p less than 0.01) and treadmill times (p less than 0.05) were improved in DDD mode but VVI and DDI modes were similar. Clinical, echocardiographic, radiological, and electrophysiological indices confirmed the absence of overt pacemaker syndrome, although mitral and tricuspid regurgitation was greatest in VVI mode (p less than 0.01). CONCLUSIONS--Most patients who were satisfied with long term pacing in VVI mode benefited from upgrading to DDD mode pacing suggesting the existence of "subclinical" pacemaker syndrome in up to 75% of such patients. The DDI mode offered little subjective or objective benefit over VVI mode in this population and should be reserved for patients with paroxysmal atrial arrhythmias. VVI mode pacing should be used only for patients with very intermittent symptomatic bradycardia or atrial fibrillation with a good chronotropic response during exercise.
PMCID: PMC1024703  PMID: 1739528
16.  Impact of internal audit on pacemaker prescription and the immediate costs of pacing in the northern region: towards implementation of the recommendations of the British Pacing and Electrophysiology Group. 
British Heart Journal  1994;71(4):395-398.
BACKGROUND--In September 1990 a working party of the British Pacing and Electrophysiology Group recommended the routine use of physiological pacing systems in patients with bradycardia. An audit of the impact of these recommendations on pacemaker prescription in the Freeman Hospital between March 1990 and August 1991 has previously been reported. This paper considers the effect of that internal audit on subsequent pacemaker prescription from September 1991 to February 1993. PATIENTS AND METHODS--The records of 1228 patients who underwent first pacemaker implantation at the Freeman Hospital between March 1990 and February 1993 were audited retrospectively. The patient's age, indication for pacing, pacing mode, and cost of the generator and leads were recorded. The indications for pacing were sinus node dysfunction (24.9%) (including patients with coexistent sinus node dysfunction and atrioventricular block), atrioventricular block (57.2%), atrioventricular block and atrial fibrillation (12.2%), and carotid sinus syndrome (5.7%). There was an increase in carotid sinus syndrome (2.7% to 8.1%) between the two study periods but no other differences in the distribution of case mix or characteristics of patients. The cost of the working party's recommended optimal pacing mode was calculated from multiplication of the mean cost of the recommended unit over the second half of the study period by the number of patients who would have received that unit. RESULTS--Between March 1990 and August 1991 atrial pacing for sinus node dysfunction (AAI, AAIR, DDD, or DDDR) increased by 138% (from 25.0% to 59.6%), mainly because of increased use of AAI mode. Physiological pacing for atrioventricular block (DDD or VVIR) increased by 41% (from 17.0% to 24.0%), and VVIR pacing for atrioventricular block with atrial fibrillation increased by 111% (from 10.5% to 22.2%). After the internal audit (that is, between September 1991 and February 1993), physiological pacing for atrioventricular block increased by a further 126% (from 24.0% to 54.2%). Sixty three per cent of this increase was in the first six months after the internal audit. Pacemaker prescriptions in sinus node dysfunction and atrioventricular block with atrial fibrillation were unchanged (59.6% physiological pacing for sinus node dysfunction and 22.2% v 27.3% VVIR pacing for atrioventricular block with atrial fibrillation). These changes in practice were accompanied by an increase in the age of patients receiving physiological units. Costs of pacemaker hardware for the final six months of the audit (excluding carotid sinus syndrome) increased by 38% over the costs that would have accrued had pacing policy remained the same as for the initial six month period before the circulation of the recommendations of the working party. Adoption of the guidelines of the working party in full would lead to a further 66% increase in the costs of hardware. CONCLUSIONS--The principal effect of the recommendations of the working party alone was increased use of AAI pacing for sinus node dysfunction, with little change in the costs of hardware. The internal audit was followed by an increase in physiological pacing for atrioventricular block, and this has had important financial consequences. Internal audit was followed by closer adherence to the recommendations of the working party.
PMCID: PMC483697  PMID: 8198896
17.  Initial Experience of a Cohort of Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Undergoing Biventricular Pacing 
Dual chamber pacing improves functional status and reduces left ventricular outflow tract gradients in some, but not all patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) by altering ventricular depolarisation. We investigated the use of biventricular (BIV) pacing in symptomatic patients with HCM.
8 patients aged 58±7yrs with symptomatic HCM underwent BIV pacing. 5 patients had LVOT gradients >30mmHg. Ventricular electrodes were placed in the right ventricle (RV) and a branch of the coronary sinus. An atrial electrode was inserted to achieve BIV pacing with a short AV delay. The short-term effects of different pacing modalities were assessed using 2-D and Doppler echocardiography. Symptoms and exercise tolerance were assessed after a month of each pacing mode. Long-term follow up data was available for 5 years.
Baseline EF was 67±14% and mean QRS duration was 132±26msecs. BIV pacing reduced QRS duration compared to RV pacing (129±46 vs. 205±54msecs, p<0.005). Five of the seven patients had baseline LVOT gradients (mean 67±25mmHg) that decreased to 41±15mm Hg with RV pacing (p<0.01) and 25±15mmHg with BIV pacing (p<0.005). Improvements in exercise time with active pacing occurred in six out of eight patients (75%), three (37.5%) had optimal exercise times with RV pacing and three with BIV pacing. Of the three patients with short term improvements with BIV pacing, one died 4 years post implant, one deteriorated with LV dilatation and one had the system explanted for infection.
BIV pacing showed short-term beneficial effects in some patients over and above RV pacing alone.
PMCID: PMC3065748  PMID: 21468273
pacemakers; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; conduction; biventricular
18.  Twenty four hour variation in plasma atrial natriuretic factor during VVI and DDD pacing. 
Heart  1996;75(6):620-622.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether plasma atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) follows a pattern of circadian variation similar to that of other hormones in patients paced under VVI and DDD pacing modes and to determine if the known effect of pacing mode on ANF secretion is maintained throughout the 24 hour period. PATIENTS AND DESIGN: 20 patients were studied. They had complete atrioventricular block and had been paced for 17 (SD 3.5) months with a dual chamber multiprogrammable pacemaker. They were divided into two groups according to the duration of pacing in either VVI or DDD mode before the measurements: group A, n = 11 (8 men, 3 women, aged 65 (7) years), each paced for 24 h under each of VVI and DDD modes in random order; group B, n = 9 (7 men, 2 women, aged 63 (8) years), each paced for 60 d under each pacing mode before the measurements. Blood samples were taken and ANF concentrations measured every 4 h over a 24 h period, starting at 09.00. Measurements were also made of plasma cortisol, which has a known circadian pattern, so that the 24 h curve could be compared with that of ANF. RESULTS: In contrast to cortisol, ANF values indicated a pulsatile pattern of secretion throughout the 24 h period, with no clear circadian variation. In group B, ANF concentrations were significantly higher during VVI than during DDD pacing throughout the 24 h period, whereas in group A this difference was statistically significant only at certain times of day. CONCLUSIONS: ANF does not show the circadian pattern of variation shown by cortisol and other hormones. Dual chamber pacing contributes to an improvement not only in cardiac haemodynamics but also in the neuroendocrine system, especially in the long term.
PMCID: PMC484388  PMID: 8697168
19.  Health-related quality of life relative to clinical outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation treated with ventricular rate stabilisation pacing 
Netherlands Heart Journal  2006;14(3):81-88.
It is uncertain whether patient perception of atrial fibrillation (AF) is based on the fast ventricular rate as such or the irregularity of the ventricular responses. This trial was designed to confirm the effectiveness of a ventricular rate stabilisation (VRS) algorithm in reducing ventricular irregularity during permanent pacing in patients with AF and to assess the patient preference and effect on quality of life (QoL).
In this multicentre single-blind randomised crossover trial, 184 patients with drug-refractory permanent (n=91) or paroxysmal (n=93) AF received a VVI(R) or DDD(R) pacemaker respectively and were paced in a randomised sequence with VRS on or off for two months. Clinical assessments (QoL, New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification, echocardiography, six-minute walk test and Holter recording) were carried out at baseline, at randomisation and after each crossover period. QoL assessment was performed using Aquarel, a new disease-specific QoL questionnaire for pacemaker patients, the Short Form 36 survey (SF-36), the Duke Activity Status Index (DASI) and the Symptom Checklist frequency and severity scores. At the end of the study patients preferences for VRS-on or VRS-off were recorded.
VRS pacing reduced ventricular irregularity without increasing the mean ventricular rate. VRS-on was preferred by 65.8% of patients with paroxysmal AF; patients with permanent AF had no preference. QoL did not show improvement during VRS pacing on any of the instruments.
VRS pacing is effective in reducing ventricular rhythm irregularity. QoL does not improve during VRS pacing but preference for VRS pacing appears particularly outspoken for patients with paroxysmal AF.
PMCID: PMC2557280
pacing; rate stabilisation; quality of life; Aquarel
20.  Permanent Parahisian Pacing 
Right Ventricular Apical permanent pacing could have negative hemodynamic effects. A physiologic pacing modality should preserve a correct atrio-ventricular and interventricular synchronization. This can be obtained through biventricular pacing, left ventricular pacing, or from alternative right ventricular pacing sites.
Direct His Bundle Pacing (DHBP) was documented as reliable and effective for preventing the desynchronization and negative effects of right ventricular apical pacing. It is, however, a complex method that requires longer average implant times, cannot be carried out on all patients and presents high pacing thresholds. On the contrary, the parahisian pacing, with simpler feasibility and reliability criteria, seems to guarantee an early invasion of the His-Purkinje conduction system, with a physiological ventricular activation, very similar to the one that can be obtained with direct His bundle pacing.
We present our experience on 68 patients who underwent a permanent right ventricular pacing in hisian/parahisian region, for advanced AV block and narrow QRS. In the first 17 patients we performed a double-blind randomized controlled study, with two 6-months cross-over periods in parahisian and apical pacing, documenting a significant improvement of NYHA class, exercise tolerance, quality of life score, mitral and tricuspidal regurgitation degree, and interventricular mechanical delay. In the subsequent 51 patients, in a mean follow of 21 months/patient, the pacing threshold remained stable (0.7±0.5 V implant; 0.9±0.7 V follow-up; p=0.08). The ejection fraction maintained medium-long term stable values, confirming the fact that the parahisian pacing can prevent deterioration of the left ventricular function.
Parahisian pacing, therefore, has proven to be a reliable method, easy to apply and effective in preventing the negative effects induced by non-physiological right ventricular apical pacing.
PMCID: PMC1877829  PMID: 17538702
direct hisian pacing; parahisian pacing; resynchronization therapy
21.  Single chamber atrial pacing: an underused and cost-effective pacing modality in sinus node disease 
Heart  1998;80(4):387-389.
Objective—To determine the safety and cost effectiveness of single chamber atrial pacing in patients with sinus node disease.
Design—Retrospective follow up study.
Setting—Tertiary referral centre.
Patients—81 patients with single chamber atrial pacemakers implanted between 1992 and 1996.
Main outcome measures—The development of high grade atrioventricular block resulting in a further pacemaker procedure. The cost savings of changing our current pacing practice to conform with British Pacing and Electrophysiology Group guidelines.
Results—During the follow up period, four patients (5.8%) required a further procedure to upgrade their atrial pacemaker to a dual chamber system owing to the development of high grade atrioventricular block. In 1995 and 1996, 343 pacemakers were implanted in patients with sinus node disease; 19 (5.5%) received single chamber atrial pacemakers and 271 (79%) dual chamber pacemakers. If the current pacing practice was changed so that all patients received single chamber atrial pacemakers, with revision for symptomatic atrioventricular block, savings in excess of £206 000 would have been made in the two year period.
Conclusions—Atrial pacing in patients with sinus node disease is underused. The need for patients to undergo further procedures owing to the development of atrioventricular block is small and significant cost savings could be made by changing pacemaker practice.

 Keywords: sinus node disease;  atrial pacing;  cost effectiveness
PMCID: PMC1728814  PMID: 9875119
22.  Long-Term Outcome of Single-Chamber Atrial Pacing Compared with Dual-Chamber Pacing in Patients with Sinus-Node Dysfunction and Intact Atrioventricular Node Conduction 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2010;51(6):832-837.
The optimal pacing mode with either single chamber atrial pacemaker (AAI or AAIR) or dual chamber pacemaker (DDD or DDDR) is still not clear in sinus-node dysfunction (SND) and intact atrioventricular (AV) conduction.
Materials and Methods
Patients who were implanted with permanent pacemaker using AAI(R) (n = 73) or DDD(R) (n = 113) were compared.
The baseline characteristics were comparable between the two groups, with a mean follow-up duration of 69 months. The incidence of death did not show statistical difference. However, the incidence of hospitalization for congestive heart failure (CHF) was significantly lower in the AAI(R) group (0%) than the DDD(R) group (8.8%, p = 0.03). Also, atrial fibrillation (AF) was found in 2.8% in the AAI(R) group, which was statistically different from 15.2% of patients in the DDD(R) group (p = 0.01). Four patients (5.5%) with AAI(R) developed AV block, and subsequently switched to DDD(R) pacing. The risk of AF was lower in the patients implanted with AAI(R) than those with DDD(R) [hazard ratio (HR), 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.72 to 0.97, p = 0.02].
In patients with SND and intact AV conduction, AAI(R) pacing can achieve a better clinical outcome in terms of occurrence of CHF and AF than DDD(R) pacing. These findings support AAI(R) pacing as the preferred pacing mode in patients with SND and intact AV conduction.
PMCID: PMC2995980  PMID: 20879047
Sinus node dysfunction; intact AV conduction
23.  Impact of the recommendations of the British Pacing and Electrophysiology Group on pacemaker prescription and on the immediate costs of pacing in the Northern Region 
British Heart Journal  1992;68(5):531-534.
Background—The report from the Working Party of the British Pacing and Electrophysiology Group recommends the use of more sophisticated pacemakers in most patients. These proposals were initially circulated in September 1990 and are likely to have major cost implications. Their impact on pacing practice and the immediate costs of pacemaker hardware in the Northern Region were retrospectively audited.
Methods—The pacing records of 550 patients undergoing a first pacemaker insertion at the Freeman Hospital between March 1990 and August 1991 were reviewed. The patient's age, indication for pacing, pacing mode, and the cost of generator and lead(s) were recorded. The cost was compared with the costs of pacing with the optimal and alternative modes recommended by the Working Party. The costs were calculated from the actual mean cost of the recommended unit over the 18 month period of study multiplied by the number of patients who would have received that unit.
Results—96% of patients were paced for sinus node dysfunction, atrioventricular block, or atrioventricular block and atrial fibrillation. The mean (SD) ages of patients in each diagnostic group were: sinus node dysfunction 69·4 (14), sinus node disease and atrioventricular block 67·2 (17·6), atrioventricular block 73·9 (12·5), atrial fibrillation and atrioventricular block 74·0 (13·9), and carotid sinus hypersensitivity 74·6 (11·6) years. Over the 18 month audit period there was an increase in physiological pacing. AAI pacing in patients with sinus node dysfunction increased by 100% and DDD pacing in atrioventricular block increased by 56%. Over the whole 18 month period the adoption of the British Pacing and Electrophysiology Groups optimal recommendations would have increased expenditure on pacemaker hardware in the Northern Region by 94% and the use of the alternative mode would have increased it by 61%. For the last six months alone the excess would be 78% and 48%.
Conclusions The adoption of the recommendations of the British Pacing and Electrophysiology group in the Northern Region would greatly increase the cost of pacing hardware. The greater part of this increase would be attributable to the routine use of dual chamber pacing in patients with atrioventricular block and the increased use of rate responsive units. The benefits of sophisticated pacing in a predominantly elderly population need to outweigh the disadvantages of the increased cost and complexity of follow up.
PMCID: PMC1025204  PMID: 1467045
24.  Cardiac pacing for severe childhood neurally mediated syncope with reflex anoxic seizures 
Heart  1999;82(6):721-725.
OBJECTIVE—To determine whether permanent cardiac pacing could prevent syncope and seizures in children with frequent severe neurally mediated syncope, and if so whether dual chamber pacing was superior to single chamber ventricular pacing.
METHODS—Dual chamber pacemakers were implanted into 12 children (eight male, four female) aged 2-14 years (median 2.8 years) with frequent episodes of reflex anoxic seizures and a recorded prolonged asystole during an attack. The pacemaker was programmed to sensing only (ODO), single chamber ventricular pacing with hysteresis (VVI), and dual chamber pacing with rate drop response (DDD) for four month periods, with each patient allocated to one of the six possible sequences of these modes, according to chronological order of pacemaker implantation. The parent and patient were blinded to the pacemaker mode and asked to record all episodes of syncope or presyncope ("near miss" events). The doctor analysing the results was blinded to the patient and pacemaker mode.
RESULTS—One patient was withdrawn from the study after the pacemaker was removed because of infection. In the remaining children, both dual chamber and single chamber pacing significantly reduced the number of syncopal episodes compared with sensing only (p = 0.0078 for both). VVI was as effective as DDD for preventing syncope, but DDD was superior to VVI in reducing near miss events (p = 0.016).
CONCLUSIONS—Permanent pacing is an effective treatment for children with severe neurally mediated syncope and reflex anoxic seizures. VVI is as effective as DDD in preventing syncope and seizures, but DDD is superior in preventing overall symptoms.

Keywords: syncope; reflex anoxic seizures; pacing; paediatric cardiology
PMCID: PMC1729207  PMID: 10573501
25.  Ambulatory Holter monitoring in asymptomatic patients with DDD pacemakers – do we need ACC/AHA Guidelines revision? 
We sought to determine the usefulness of ambulatory 24-hour Holter monitoring in detecting asymptomatic pacemaker (PM) malfunction episodes in patients with dual-chamber pacemakers whose pacing and sensing parameters were proper, as seen in routine post-implantation follow-ups.
Material and methods
Ambulatory 24-hour Holter recordings (HM) were performed in 100 patients with DDD pacemakers 1 day after the implantation. Only asymptomatic patients with proper pacing and sensing parameters (assessed on PM telemetry on the first day post-implantation) were enrolled in the study. The following parameters were assessed: failure to pace, failure to sense (both oversensing and undersensing episodes) as well as the percentage of all PM disturbances.
Despite proper sensing and pacing parameters, HM revealed PM disturbances in 23 patients out of 100 (23%). Atrial undersensing episodes were found in 12 patients (p < 0.005) with totally 963 episodes and failure to capture in 1 patient (1%). T wave oversensing was the most common ventricular channel disorder (1316 episodes in 9 patients, p < 0.0005). Malfunction episodes occurred sporadically, leading to pauses of up to 1.6 s or temporary bradycardia, which were, nevertheless, not accompanied by clinical symptoms. No ventricular pacing disturbances were found.
Asymptomatic pacemaker dysfunction may be observed in nearly 25% of patients with proper DDD parameters after implantation. Thus, ambulatory HM during the early post-implantation period may be a useful tool to detect the need to reprogram PM parameters.
PMCID: PMC3832827  PMID: 24273562
DDD pacemaker; ambulatory Holter monitoring; pacemaker dysfunction

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