Cardiac Conduction in Patients with Symptomatic Sinus Node Disease
Cardiac conduction was investigated at the time of pacemaker insertion in 15 patients with symptomatic sinus node disease. Techniques included recording of His bundle potentials, atrial pacing at various heart rates, and atropine administration. Atrioventricular (AV) conduction was impaired in eight patients who manifested one or more of the following: P-R prolongation, P-H prolongation, and development of second degree AV block with atrial pacing at heart rates below 130 beats/min. Five patients had intraventricular conduction defects diagnosed electrocardiographically; none of these had H-Q prolongation. One of these five, with left bundle-branch block, subsequently developed complete heart block and had a calcific lesion involving the His bundle. Depression of cardiac automaticity was noted in four patients, with asystolic periods greater than 2 sec after sudden cessation of atrial pacing at rates of 100-160 beats/min. Responses to 1 mg of intravenous atropine were varied, but no patient developed sinus rates greater than 90 beats/min, suggesting the presence of primary sinus node dysfunction.
In conclusion, abnormalities of conduction and automaticity in specialized tissue in addition to the sinus node are common in patients with symptomatic sinus node disease. These abnormalities should be recognized when present, so that the ideal site for permanent pacing may be chosen.
- Received October 15, 1970.
- Accepted February 22, 1971.
- © 1971 American Heart Association, Inc.