To determine the importance of different atrioventricular intervals during exercise in patients with dual chamber pacemakers, seven patients with complete heart block and sinus rhythm were exercised in different pacing modes and atrioventricular intervals: (a) ventricular inhibited (VVI) pacing with no synchronous atrial augmentation or rate responsiveness; (b) atrial synchronous ventricular or DDD pacing with a short mean (SD) atrioventricular interval of 66 (4) ms; and (c) DDD pacing with a long atrioventricular interval of 168 (12) ms. Pacing with a short or long atrioventricular interval gave similar maximum heart rates, oxygen uptake at the anaerobic threshold, end tidal pressure of carbon dioxide or oxygen pulse (a measure of stroke volume). Pacing with either a short or long atrioventricular interval produced a significantly higher oxygen consumption and anaerobic threshold and less lactate production than VVI pacing. During exercise a short atrioventricular interval does not provide a better cardiopulmonary performance than a long atrioventricular interval.
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