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To noninvasively assess the hemodynamic effects of VVI and DDD pacing modes we measured beat-to-beat arterial blood pressure during VVI and DDD pacing in 30 patients with complete heart block (CHB), using fingertip photoplethysmography. Of these patients, 15 undertook a double-blind cross-over comparison of the symptomatic effects of VVI versus DDD pacing to determine the relationship between blood pressure changes and the occurrence of symptoms suggestive of the pacemaker syndrome during ventricular pacing. Mean (SD) systolic blood pressure was 11.7 (15.4) mmHg lower during VVI pacing compared to DDD pacing (P < 0.0005). The mean (SD) beat-to-beat variability of systolic blood pressure was 5.20 (2.87%) in VVI mode versus 2.12 (1.07%) in DDD mode (P < 0.0000005). In comparison with DDD pacing, the excess of symptoms experienced by patients during VVI pacing did not correlate with the change in mean systolic blood pressure, but was significantly correlated with the increase in beat-to-beat systolic blood pressure variation during VVI pacing (r = 0.58, P = 0.024). We conclude that noninvasive measurement of fingertip arterial beat-to-beat blood pressure is a rapid and simple method of assessing the hemodynamic effect of VVI pacing. Beat-to-beat blood pressure variability was related to symptomatic intolerance of VVI pacing and may have potential utility as an aid to diagnosis or as a predictor of pacemaker syndrome.


Journal article


Pacing Clin Electrophysiol

Publication Date





25 - 33


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Blood Pressure, Cardiac Output, Cardiac Pacing, Artificial, Cross-Over Studies, Dizziness, Double-Blind Method, Dyspnea, Fatigue, Female, Forecasting, Heart Block, Heart Rate, Heart Ventricles, Hemodynamics, Humans, Hypotension, Male, Middle Aged, Photoplethysmography, Single-Blind Method, Syndrome, Systole