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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 May 19;43(10):1894-901.

Long-term outcomes of cardiac pacing in adults with congenital heart disease.

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  • 1Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The purpose of this retrospective study was to define long-term outcomes after pacemaker therapy in adults with congenital heart disease (CHD).


Adults with CHD represent a unique and expanding population. Many will require pacemaker or implantable defibrillator therapy, with a lifelong need for re-intervention and follow-up. They pose technical and management challenges not encountered in other groups receiving pacing, and the complication and re-intervention rates specific to this population are not well-defined.


We reviewed outcomes of 168 adults with CHD, 89 females, mean age 40 years, in whom a pacemaker or anti-tachycardia device was implanted.


Mean age at implant was 28 years with mean pacing duration 11 years at follow-up (range, 0.5 to 38.0). Seventy-two (42%) received initial dual-chamber devices and remained in this mode, while 23 (14%) went from ventricular to dual-chamber pacing in follow-up. Initial mode of pacing did not have a significant effect on subsequent atrial arrhythmia. Patients receiving an initial epicardial system were younger than those paced endocardially (17 +/- 12 years vs. 35 +/- 16 years, p < 0.001) and more likely to undergo re-intervention (p = 0.019). Difficulty with vascular access was encountered in 25 patients (15%), while 45 (27%) experienced lead-related complications. No significant predictors of lead complications were identified.


Lead complications were not significantly different for epicardial versus endocardial, nor physiologic versus ventricular pacing, but a trend toward improved lead survival in patients receiving endocardial leads at first implant was observed. Adults with CHD remain at risk for atrial arrhythmias regardless of pacing mode.

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