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The Impact of the Distance between the Atrial Electrode and the Atrial Wall on Atrial Undersensing in Patients with VDD Pacemakers: Long-Term Follow-Up

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Aim: Atrial undersensing (AUS) in single-lead VDD pacemakers may be due to diminished P-wave amplitude secondary to local inflammation beneath the electrodes closer to atrial wall. The aim of this study was to assess the potential effect of distance between atrial electrode and atrial wall on immediate and long-term atrial sensing stability in VDD systems.

Methods: A total of 275 patients with normal sinus node function who received VDD pacemakers were enrolled into the study and were followed up for a median duration of 33 months. During each control visit, a standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) was obtained and standard pacemaker function assessment was performed including testing for pacing threshold and atrioventricular synchrony. The distance between atrial electrode and atrial wall was measured from chest X-ray.

Results: Of the 275 patients, AUS was detected in 59 patients. Univariate predictors of AUS were use of closely spaced bipolar ring atrial electrode (CSBR) (P = 0.01), wider atrial ring-spacing (P = 0.03), and atrial sensitivity programmed to a higher level (P = 0.001). Use of CSBR (P = 0.04) and atrial sensitivity ≥0.3 mV (P = 0.02) were observed to be the independent predictors for AUS. When the distance between atrial electrode and atrial wall was <7 mm, AUS was less with diagonally arranged bipolar ring electrodes (DABR) than it was with CSBRs (P = 0.02).

Conclusions: The distance between atrial electrode and atrial wall does not appear to affect AUS incidence in VDD pacemakers. For VDD electrodes closer to atrial wall, AUS was significantly less likely in DABR-type electrodes.

Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol 2008;13(4):332–340
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Keywords: VDD pacemakers; atrial electrode; atrial undersensing; atrial wall

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ankara University School of Medicine, Department of Cardiology, Ankara, Turkey

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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