Safety and efficacy of AAIR pacing in selected patients with sick sinus syndrome

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Background:The DANPACE study suggested implanting dual-pacing dual-sensing dual-response rate-adaptive (DDDR) pacemakers in patients with sick sinus syndrome, even though 90.7% of their atrial-pacing atrial-sensing inhibited-response rate-adaptive (AAIR) group did not require upgrade. Most centers implant DDDR pacemakers due to risk of future atrioventricular (AV) block. Given that AAIR pacemakers are less expensive, have one less lead with potentially one less point of complication, we question whether DDDR pacemakers are superior to AAIR pacemakers. We aim to describe long-term outcomes of AAIR implants.Methods:Patients presenting to the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton, Canada from 1990 to 2012 with sick sinus syndrome without AV block had AAIR pacemakers implanted. Outcomes that were measured over the follow-up time included need for ventricular lead reoperation, incidence of AV block and incidence of sudden cardiac death from AV block.Results:During this period, 330 patients presented with sick sinus syndrome. Eighty-seven (26.4%) patients met criteria for and received AAIR pacemakers. Seventy-eight (91.8%) did not require upgrade over mean follow-up of 10.6 ± 0.6 years. Amongst this group, 31 patients (39.7%) were alive, whereas 47 (60.3%) were deceased at end of follow-up due to other comorbidities. No sudden deaths were attributable to AV block. Only 7 patients (8.2%) required ventricular lead reoperation: 2 (2.4%) presented urgently with symptomatic AV block; 3 (3.5%) had atrial fibrillation requiring beta-blockade; 1 (1.2%) had atrial lead dislodgment; and 1 (1.2%) was electively upgraded at battery end-of-life.Conclusions:This study looks at safety of AAIR pacemakers with only 2.4% of patients developing AV block requiring urgent upgrade. Approximately 91.8% of patients remained with their original AAIR pacemakers (mean follow-up 10.6 vs 5.4 years in DANPACE). Our findings are similar to the DANPACE study but our conclusions are different as we believe AAIR pacing should be considered for selected patients with sick sinus syndrome without AV block.

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