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Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1985 Nov;8(6):849-55.

Survival and follow-up after pacemaker implantation: a comparison of patients with sick sinus syndrome, complete heart block, and atrial fibrillation.


The number of patients receiving cardiac pacemakers for sick sinus syndrome (SSS) has increased considerably in recent years. The literature has suggested that patients with sick sinus syndrome have a shorter life expectancy with pacemaker therapy than patients with total heart block or atrial fibrillation. We studied the survival rate of 1,049 patients with complete heart block, 592 with sick sinus syndrome and 447 with atrial fibrillation. After 10 years we found a survival rate of 54.5% for patients paced for SSS, 34.4% for those with complete heart block, and 24.7% for those with atrial fibrillation (statistical significance: SSS--heart block: p less than 0.05; SSS--atrial fibrillation: p less than 0.01; heart block--atrial fibrillation: NS). Considering the calculated survival rates of a comparable normal population (i.e., 56.5%; 41.2%; 47.8%), the differences in survival expectancy are even more pronounced (SSS-normal: NS; heart block-normal p less than 0.05; atrial fibrillation-normal: p less than 0.05). For patients with sick sinus syndrome, the life expectancy parallels that of the general population, while that of patients with complete heart block or atrial fibrillation have a life expectancy that is considerably lower.

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