Arterial blood pressure was continuously monitored during rapid atrial pacing in 31 patients with different types of heart disease to determine sinus node recovery time and corrected sinus node recovery time. Pacing was initiated at 70 beats/min and increased stepwise to 160 beats/min. One to one atrioventricular conduction was maintained throughout the one minute stimulation period. Blood pressure fell initially during at least one stimulation period in 21 of our patients and at pacing rates up to 130 beats/min in 18. Once blood pressure had fallen during overdrive pacing maximal sinus node recovery time and maximal corrected sinus node recovery time could not be prolonged by increasing the pacing rate. Sinus node recovery time and corrected sinus node recovery time during the pacing induced fall in blood pressure was significantly shorter than those during stimulation runs with constant blood pressure. No pacing induced fall in blood pressure and no relation between changes in blood pressure and sinus node recovery time were evident in 10 of the 31 patients. Sinus node recovery time is therefore influenced by alterations in autonomic tone due to pacing induced haemodynamic changes.
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