Consistent His bundle pacing was accomplished in one of 60 consecutive patients. Intracardiac electrophysiologic studies in this patient revealed rapid atrioventricular nodal conduction (AH = 55 msec). While the relative refractory period of the His-Purkinje system as a whole determined by His bundle pacing (using the extrastimulus technique) was identical to that determined by atrial pacing, changes in right bundle branch refractoriness differed. An atrial extrasystolic interval of 370 msec resulted in right bundle branch block, whereas direct His pacing at a shorter extrasystolic interval (360 msec) failed to produce a bundle branch block pattern. The effective refractory period of the His-Purkinje system could not be determined by atrial pacing because of atrial refractoriness, but was obtained by His bundle pacing.
Theoretically, direct His bundle pacing may be of value in determining His-Purkinje system refractoriness when this parameter is unobtainable due to either atrial or atrioventricular nodal refractoriness. This technique appears to have limited clinical usefulness, however, because of the very small success rates. Finally, His-Purkinje system refractoriness may differ, depending on site of stimulation, presumably due to differing inputs into the His-Purkinje system.