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Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2009 Sep;32(9):1207-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.2009.02467.x.

Modern pacemakers: hope or hype?

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Krannert Institute of Cardiology, Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.


In recent years, the role of implantable pacing devices has expanded beyond the arrhythmia horizon and contemporary pacemakers' attempt to meet the physiological needs of patients. Modern pacemakers' functions include various modes of dual-chamber pacing, rate-response algorithms with dual sensors for optimum physiological response, cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), arrhythmia-prevention algorithms, antitachycardia pacing, and hemodynamic monitoring. The automaticity features of pacemakers enable continuous or intermittent monitoring of various pacemaker parameters including battery voltage, pacing impedance, sensing levels, pacing thresholds, and daily activity log. Modern pacemakers offer "physiological pacing" algorithms that minimize ventricular pacing and reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation significantly. Ventricular pacing in patients with intact atrioventricular (AV) conduction or intermittent advanced AV block should be minimized with a hope to reduce heart failure hospitalization and mortality. A reduction in all-cause mortality due to physiological pacing, except for the CRT, has yet to be demonstrated in a randomized trial. Overall, modern pacemakers have acceptable performances to fulfill the clinical needs and have a reasonable safety margin. Promising new technologies are currently under development and offer hope to patients who may one day derive both symptomatic and mortality benefit from these devices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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