Background Recent work has shown no difference in change of LVEF between RV apical (RVA) pacing and non-RVA pacing in patients with normal LV function. We hypothesised that a more sensitive marker (global longitudinal strain, GLS) could identify a detrimental effect of RVA and that assessment of deformation could identify whether dyssynchrony, contraction inefficiency and regional LV impairment were responsible for functional changes.
Methods In this substudy of Protect-PACE (The Protection of Left Ventricular Function During Right Ventricular Pacing. Does Right Ventricular High-septal Pacing Improve Outcome Compared With Right Ventricular Apical Pacing?), a randomised controlled trial of RVA and non-RVA pacing in pacemaker-dependent patients with preserved EF, 145 patients (76 with RVA) with echocardiograms of sufficient quality underwent measurement of LV longitudinal strain (GLS) from speckle tracking just after implantation and at 2 years. LV dyssynchrony, discoordination and regional apical longitudinal strain were also measured.
Results Pacing was associated with reduced GLS after 2 years, although 2-year GLS was lower in RVA (−13.9±4.1 vs −15.5±4.6, p=0.02). RVA was an independent correlate of ΔGLS, although there was a minor difference in ΔGLS between the RVA and non-RVA groups (−1.8±3.6 vs −0.8±3.4%, p=0.07), reflecting impairment of GLS at baseline in RVA. Apical strain was significantly lower in RVA than those in non-RVA at baseline and 2 years (both p<0.01). Dyssynchrony and discoordination parameters at 2 years also showed significant deterioration in RVA. Apical strain, dyssynchrony and discoordination parameters at 2 years were significantly associated with ΔGLS.
Conclusions Inefficient dyssynchronous contraction and the decrease in apical strain appear to be associated with global LV impairment in RVA.
Trial registration number PROTECT-PACE ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00461734.
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