Temporary Epicardial Atrial Pacing Electrodes: Duration of Effectiveness Based on Position

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To investigate the duration of effectiveness in the postoperative period of temporary epicardial atrial pacing electrodes on the right atrium, based on position.


The function of temporary epicardial atrial pacing electrodes were examined in 55 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting from March 20, 1996, to July 31, 1996, at Allegheny University Hospitals, Hahnemann Division, Philadelphia, PA. There were 41 male and 14 female patients. The mean age was 71 years (range 35 to 86 years). Two atrial and two ventricular temporary epicardial pacing electrodes were placed at the termination of cardiopulmonary bypass. One atrial electrode was placed on the body of the right atrium at the junction of the superior vena cava (body electrode); the other was passed through the pursestring of the atrial cannulation site(appendage electrode).


The mean thresholds for the atrial body electrodes on the operative day and postoperative days 1 and 2 were 4.96, 6.67, and 6.80 mA, respectively. The mean thresholds for the atrial appendage electrodes were 5.98, 7.50, and 8.59 mA, respectively.


Temporary epicardial atrial pacing electrodes are more effective when the wires are placed in the atrial body of the right atrium than if they are wrapped within the pursestring of the right atrial appendage. As a result of these findings, the common practice of placing the pacing wire through pursestring tissue should be abandoned.

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