INTRODUCTION--Over the past decade, several advances have been made in the management of tachycardias by pacing techniques, but limited data are available on the long-term outcome of patients treated with antitachycardia pacemakers. PATIENTS AND METHODS--An antitachycardia pacemaker, the Intermedics Intertach, was implanted in 22 (17 female) patients with supraventricular tachycardia over a five year period. All were selected after detailed evaluation and testing of a temporary antitachycardia pacemaker system showed that their arrhythmia could be stopped promptly, reliably, and under different physiological conditions. RESULTS--The 22 patients have been followed up for a mean period of 57.3 (range 19-76) months. All except one of the patients has had frequent episodes of tachycardia reliably ended by the pacemaker. Complications have occurred in seven patients, necessitating removal of the pacing system in four. Of the 18 patients who continue to have pacemakers, seven are being treated with beta blockers or verapamil; no other antiarrhythmic drugs are being taken. CONCLUSIONS--Antitachycardia pacing is an acceptable long-term option for carefully selected patients with supraventricular tachycardia, but even after extensive testing a substantial number of the patients may continue to require drug treatment. Furthermore, the widespread use of curative techniques for supraventricular arrhythmias (catheter ablation and surgery) has decreased the need for this palliative treatment.
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