Usefulness of rate regulation through continuous ventricular pacing in patients with drug-controlled slower atrial fibrillation and normal or depressed left ventricular systolic function
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We studied 33 clinically stable patients with permanent atrial fibrillation (AF), implanted with a ventricular demand rate-responsive (VVIR) pacemaker or an automatic defibrillator, in order to evaluate whether continuous right ventricular apex pacing (VP) conferring rate regulation may be advantageous when compared with slower drug-controlled AF. Devices were chronically programmed at ventricular backup pacing. Patients were divided in two groups according to their normal (n = 17) or depressed (n = 16) left ventricular systolic function (LVSF). Ventricular function was studied by using tissue Doppler and color M-mode and echocardiography, as well as B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) measurements. Baseline data during AF were compared to corresponding measurements following a 1-month pacing period after the devices were programmed at a base rate of 70 beats/min. In both groups, VP worsened some indexes of left and right ventricular function (P < 0.05) without significantly affecting cardiac output, left ventricular filling pressures and BNP (P = not significant). We conclude that VP should not be considered advantageous compared to slower AF.
Key wordsAtrial fibrillation Ventricular pacing Ventricular function
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