Pacemaker for slow heart rhythm restores life expectancy

Pacemakers implanted for slow heart rhythm restore life expectancy to normal levels, reveals research presented at ESC Congress 2013 today by Dr Erik O. Udo from the Netherlands. The findings provide a new reference point for the prognosis of modern pacemaker patients.

Dr Udo said: "Previous studies describing the survival of patients used data that is more than 20 years old and cannot be used anymore for patient counselling and benchmarking. There have been considerable changes in pacemaker technology and in the profile of pacemaker patients and a new reference point of prognosis in modern day was needed."

FollowPace was a nationwide multicentre in 23 Dutch hospitals. It included 1,517 patients who received their first pacemaker for bradycardia (slow or ) between 2003 and 2007. Patients were followed for an average of 5.8 years.

The researchers found of 93%, 81%, 69% and 61% after 1, 3, 5 and 7 years respectively. Patients without cardiovascular disease (such as heart failure or ) at the time of pacemaker implantation had a survival rate similar to age and sex matched controls from the general Dutch population (see figure 1).

Dr Udo said: "Our results suggest that the prognosis of today's pacemaker patient is primarily determined by whether or not they also have cardiovascular disease, and not by the rhythm disorder itself. Patients who have heart failure or coronary artery disease when the pacemaker is implanted have the highest risk of death. On the other hand, patients without at the time of implantation have the best survival, which is comparable to the survival of the general population."

He added: "In earlier studies we showed that in cases of too slow heart rhythm, permanent pacing relieves symptoms and improves quality of life and therefore a pacemaker is the appropriate device. In this study we could document that other cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease or , determine the prognosis of pacemaker patients rather than the slow heart rhythm itself."

He continued: "After pacemaker implantation for a too slow heart rhythm, more attention should be paid to the detection and treatment of other cardiovascular problems. Thus, next to the regular technical follow-ups of the pacemaker, the cardiologist should also regularly check the pacemaker recipient to improve the prognosis by treating potentially diagnosed cardiovascular diseases."

Dr Udo concluded: "The FollowPace study provides detailed documentation of current standard pacemaker care in a large representative sample of western pacemaker clinics. The results can therefore be considered a new benchmark of life expectancy of patients treated with today's cardiac pacing."

Related Stories

Wireless pacemaker shows promise in early study

date May 09, 2013

(HealthDay)—Scientists report positive results in early testing of a wireless pacemaker that's placed in the heart instead of being connected to it via wires from the upper chest.

Pacemaker could help more heart failure patients

date Oct 05, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—A new study from Karolinska Institutet demonstrates that a change in the ECG wave called the QRS prolongation is associated with a higher rate of heart-failure mortality. According to the team that carried ...

Pacemaker prevents fainting among select patient population

date Mar 26, 2012

A select number of patients who suffer from neurally mediated synope (NMS) – a disorder in which the brain fails to regulate heart rate and blood pressure – may be good candidates to receive a dual-chamber pacemaker ...

Recommended for you

1950s drug is future heart treatment

date 11 hours ago

Oxford University researchers have found a promising future treatment for heart disease, going back to a drug first developed in 1950.

Time is muscle in acute heart failure

date 20 hours ago

Urgent diagnosis and treatment in acute heart failure has been emphasised for the first time in joint recommendations published today in European Heart Journal.

Common mutation linked to heart disease

date May 20, 2015

A common mutation in a gene that regulates cholesterol levels may raise the risk of heart disease in carriers, according to a new UConn Health study.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.