Long-term progression of rhythm and conduction disturbances in pacemaker recipients: findings from the Pacemaker Expert Programming study

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AimsKnowledge of the long-term progression of rhythm disorders requiring pacemaker implantation could have significant implications for the choice of device and its management during follow-up. Accordingly, we conducted an observational study to analyse the long-term progression of rhythm disorders requiring pacemaker implantation.MethodsThis multicentre, observational study enrolled 1810 pacemaker patients (age 71.6 ± 13.3 years, men 53.8%) consecutively evaluated during scheduled pacemaker follow-up visits. To evaluate the long-term progression of rhythm disorders, we analysed the patient's rhythm disorders at the time of device implantation and during follow-up. After pacemaker implantation, the rhythm disorders were reassessed and recorded at each scheduled pacemaker follow-up visit, and the spontaneous rhythm was analysed during pacemaker interrogation.ResultsDuring a median follow-up of 61.6 months, we observed a progression of the primary rhythm disorder in 295 patients (16.3%; worsening of the preexisting rhythm disorder in 7.7%; occurrence of a new rhythm disorder added to the preexisting one in 8.6%). Specifically, the cumulative per-year risks of developing the following disorders were: atrioventricular block (AVB) in patients implanted for sinus node disease (SND), 0.3%; permanent atrial fibrillation in SND patients, 2.9%; SND in AVB patients, 0.7%; and persistent AVB in patients implanted for chronic bifascicular block 3.0%.ConclusionOur results revealed that rhythm disorders requiring pacemaker implantation show long-term progression in a significant number of cases. In many cases, the progression is substantial and may require a change in pacing mode.

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