OBJECTIVE To evaluate whether thromboembolism in sick sinus syndrome can be predicted by pacing mode, atrial fibrillation, or echocardiographic findings.
METHODS Patients were randomised to single chamber atrial (n = 110) or ventricular (n = 115) pacing. They were divided into subgroups with and without brady-tachy syndrome at time of randomisation. The occurrence of atrial fibrillation and thromboembolism during follow up were investigated and compared with echocardiographic findings.
RESULTS The annual risk of thromboembolism was 5.8% in patients with brady-tachy syndrome randomised to ventricular pacing, 3.2% in patients without brady-tachy syndrome randomised to ventricular pacing, 3% in patients with brady-tachy syndrome randomised to atrial pacing, and 1.5% in patients without brady-tachy syndrome randomised to atrial pacing. In atrial paced patients without brady-tachy syndrome at randomisation and without atrial fibrillation during follow up, the annual risk of thromboembolism was 1.4%. Left atrial size measured by M mode echocardiography was of no value in predicting thromboembolism.
CONCLUSIONS Arterial thromboembolism in patients with sick sinus syndrome is very common and is associated primarily with brady-tachy syndrome at randomisation and with ventricular pacing. The risk of thromboembolism is small in atrial paced patients in whom atrial fibrillation has never been documented.
- sick sinus syndrome
- atrial pacing
- atrial fibrillation
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