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J Heart Valve Dis. 2016 Nov;25(6):663-671.

Risk Factors for Permanent Pacemaker after Implantation of Surgical or Percutaneous Self-Expanding Aortic Prostheses.

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Poliambulanza Foundation Hospital, Brescia, Italy. Electonic correspondence:
Sant'Ambrogio Clinical Institute-University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Poliambulanza Foundation Hospital, Brescia, Italy.



The use of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) following the introduction of Nitinol autoexpandable devices has spread rapidly during recent years. In addition, cardiac surgery has been revolutionized due to the use of Nitinol-based sutureless prostheses for aortic valve replacement (AVR). During the same period, however, permanent pacemaker (PPM) implantation has emerged as a frequent complication. The study aim was to identify the risk factors of PPM following the implantation of a Nitinol self-expanding prosthesis (for AVR or TAVI).


A study group was created between two institutions experienced in the use of nitinol devices, and a pool of 336 patients (56.6% CoreValve - Medtronic; 43.4% Perceval - Sorin) was available for a retrospective analysis. Pre-procedural clinical and electrocardiography (ECG) variables and postprocedural ECG variables were compared between the PPM group and control patients who had not received a PPM during their index hospitalization.


A PPM was required in 12.8% of patients (TAVI 17.5% versus AVR 6.8%, p = 0.007). PPM patients had a higher logistical EuroSCORE (median 20.77% versus 15.59%, p = 0.015), a lower use of statins (18.6% versus 34.2%, p = 0.04), a pre-procedural longer QRS interval (median 117 ms versus 98 ms, p = 0.002), and a higher incidence of conduction disturbances (29.3% versus 16.8%, p = 0.034), with a prevalence of right bundle branch block. At the first postprocedural ECG, non-stimulated PPM patients had a longer QRS interval (median 150 ms versus 113 ms, p<0.001) and a longer QTc interval (487.3 ± 46 ms versus 510.8 ± 53.8 ms, p = 0.005). Prevalent intra-ventricular conduction disorders in both groups included left bundle branch block. AVR patients received a PPM later than the TAVI group (median 6 days versus 3 days, p = 0.01). TAVI was an independent predictor of PPM at logistic regression analysis (OR 3.18; 95% CI 1.19-8.48, p = 0.021), but the significance disappeared after incorporating post-procedural ECG variables.


Nitinol technology is a ground-breaking option for aortic valve procedures. However, the radial forces of the self-expandable mechanism may be implicated in the increased need for PPM, mostly in cases of TAVI compared to AVR, that most likely are due to displacement of the stent provoked by in situ calcium clusters. Given the clinical and economic impact of PPM, new parameters are required to understand the stent/tissue interaction and to help with device selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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