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Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2010 Feb 15;75(3):444-52. doi: 10.1002/ccd.22289.

Impact of rapid ventricular pacing during percutaneous balloon aortic valvuloplasty in patients with critical aortic stenosis: should we be using it?

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



Rapid ventricular pacing (RP) during percutaneous balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) facilitates balloon positioning by preventing the "watermelon seeding" effect during balloon inflation. The clinical consequences of RP BAV have never been compared with standard BAV in which rapid pacing in not used. We evaluated the immediate results and in-hospital adverse events of patients with severe aortic stenosis (AS) undergoing BAV with and without RP.


This is a retrospective study of patients with severe AS undergoing retrograde BAV. Patients who underwent BAV with RP were compared to those who did not receive RP during BAV. Procedural outcomes, complications, and in-hospital adverse events were compared between both groups. Stratified analyses were performed to evaluate RP in pre-specified subsets for confounding and effect modification.


Between January 2005 and December 2008, 111 consecutive patients underwent retrograde BAV at Massachusetts General Hospital. Sixty-seven patients underwent BAV with RP. Nearly 90% of patients were NYHA class III or IV and the mean AVA was 0.64 cm(2). Baseline characteristics and balloon sizes were similar in the two groups. The average post-BAV AVA was smaller in the RP group compared to the no-RP group (0.87 v. 1.02 cm(2), p = 0.02). Pre and post-cardiac output, in-hospital mortality, myocardial infarction, stroke, frequency of cardiopulmonary arrest, vasopressor use, and major complications were similar in the two groups.


1) RP allows precise balloon placement during BAV. 2) RP BAV is associated with lower post-BAV AVA. 3) RP BAV may be safely performed in patients with high-risk cardiac features.

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