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Development of sinus node disease in patients with AV block: implications for single lead VDD pacing
  1. U K H Wiegand,
  2. F Bode,
  3. R Schneider,
  4. A Brandes,
  5. H Haase,
  6. H A Katus,
  7. J Potratz
  1. Department of Internal Medicine II, Medical University of Luebeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Lübeck, Germany
  1. Dr Wiegand.


OBJECTIVE To investigate the incidence of sinus node disease after pacemaker implantation for exclusive atrioventricular (AV) block.

DESIGN 441 patients were followed after VDD (n = 219) or DDD pacemaker (n = 222) implantation for AV block over a mean period of 37 months. Sinus node disease and atrial arrhythmias had been excluded by Holter monitoring and treadmill exercise preoperatively in 286 patients (group A). In 155 patients with complete AV block, a sinus rate above 70 beats/min was required for inclusion in the study (group B). Holter monitoring and treadmill exercise were performed two weeks, three months, and every six months after implantation. Sinus bradycardia below 40 beats/min, sinoatrial block, sinus arrest, or subnormal increase of heart rate during treadmill exercise were defined as sinus node dysfunction.

RESULTS Cumulative incidence of sinus node disease was 0.65% per year without differences between groups. Clinical indicators of sinus node dysfunction were sinus bradycardia below 40 beats/min in six patients (1.4%), intermittent sinoatrial block in two (0.5%), and chronotropic incompetence in five patients (1.1%). Only one of these patients (0.2%) was symptomatic. Cumulative incidence of atrial fibrillation was 2.0% per year, independent of the method used for the assessment of sinus node function and of the implanted device.

CONCLUSIONS In patients undergoing pacemaker implantation for isolated AV block, sinus node syndrome rarely occurs during follow up. Thus single lead VDD pacing can safely be performed in these patients.

  • dual chamber pacing
  • sinus node disease
  • atrial fibrillation

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