Fifteen patients with dual chamber pacemakers implanted for atrioventricular block (11) or sinoatrial disease (4) completed a single blind within-patient comparison of symptoms and 24 hour intra-arterial blood pressure during long term atrioventricular synchronous (DDD) pacing and long term ventricular demand (VVI) pacing. The patients reported significantly less breathlessness, fatigue, and dizziness and a significantly greater sense of general well-being during DDD pacing than during VVI pacing. Twelve of the fifteen patients expressed a strong preference for DDD pacing. Systolic blood pressure tended to be lower and was significantly more variable during VVI pacing than during DDD pacing (mean (SD) daytime systolic blood pressure 132.4 (17.1) and 140.4 (13.1) mm Hg respectively). Accordingly, episodes of hypotension were more common during VVI pacing, which may partly explain why the patients reported more symptoms during this mode of pacing.
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