BACKGROUND--Raigmore is a district general hospital offering a permanent pacemaker service to its catchment population of 233,500. It has been argued that the British public would be better served by a less centralised pacing service. There also exists the view, however, that a lower rate of complications and best follow up practice are achieved by specialised centres. The pacemaker practice over a 79 month period (January 1987 to July 1993) was thus reviewed with these issues in mind. METHODS--The pacemaker records of all new implantations for the period under observation were reviewed retrospectively. Data were acquired under the headings age, sex, symptoms, electrocardiographic (ECG) indications, and complications (early and late). Comparison was made with United Kingdom national data, a previous audit from Raigmore, and two recently published large series from specialist centres (one British and the other French). RESULTS--The mean age of patients who underwent implantation was 74 years and 47.5% were male. The most common presenting symptoms were syncope (46%), dizzy spells (24.5%), and heart failure (11.5%). The most common ECG indications for pacing were complete heart block (wide QRS) (28%), atrial flutter/fibrillation with bradycardia (21.6%) and complete heart block (narrow QRS) (9.6%). The implantation rate was 184/million population/year in 1993. The early and late complication rates were low (2.48%). CONCLUSIONS--The presence of a pacing centre in a remote part of the United Kingdom fulfils a necessary service and has low complication rates, with implantation rates and patterns that are comparable with those in other parts of the country.
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