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Keywords:

  • atrial pacing;
  • sick sinus syndrome;
  • long-term follow-up

Atrial pacing (AP), despite its beneficial hemodynamic and antiarrhythmic effect, is still an underused mode of stimulation. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term results of AP. Sixty four patients (pts) with sinus node disease (28 male and 36 female: mean age 54,2; range:44–88 years), 3,2% of the total implantation at our clinic were treated with AP between 1982–96. Criteria for atrial pacing were: no AV block in the history, no AV-block during carotid sinus massage, Wenckebach point > 130/min, left atrium <50mm, left ventricular EF >40%. The indication for pacing was predominant sinus bradycardia (SB) in 34 pts and tachycardia-bradycardia syndrome (TBS) in 30 pts. Pts with TBS were on antiarrhythmic treatment, while most pts with SB received no antiarrhythmic drugs. All the pts were checked up at every 3–6 month. Sixty-two pts were followed for 3–154 (mean: 67) months, two pts were lost for follow-up. Repeated lead dislodgment occurred in two pts, which made a pacing mode change necessary. Four pts died during the follow-up period for non-cardiac reasons. At the end of the follow-up period the data of 60 pts were available for evaluation (33 pts with SB, 27 pts with TBS). All the pts with SB were in sinus rhythm, and no patient developed AV block by the end of the follow-up period Seven out of 27 pts with TBS developed chronic atrial fibrillation, 3 out of them suffered a cerebral embolism; the remaining 20 pts were in sinus rhythm, and the number of paroxysmal attacks decreased significantly, which improved their quality of life significantly. Three pts in this group developed a temporary complete AV block, which regressed with decreasing the dosage of antiarrhythmic drugs. Atrial pacing is proved to be a safe and reliable treatment for sick sinus syndrome. Proper patient selection is crucial in preventing the development of AV conduction disturbance. Atrial stimulation had a satisfactory long-term antiarrhythmic effect in pts with sick sinus syndrome (SSS).