Journal Article

Does the mechanism of action of biatrial pacing for atrial fibrillation involve changes in cardiac haemodynamics?

T. Levy, G.H. Jenkins, S. Walker, L. Grieve, C. Webb, M.G. Buckley, D.R.J. Singer and V. Paul

in EP Europace

Published on behalf of European Heart Rhythm Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)

Volume 2, issue 2, pages 127-135
Published in print April 2000 | ISSN: 1099-5129
Published online April 2000 | e-ISSN: 1532-2092 | DOI:
Does the mechanism of action of biatrial pacing for atrial fibrillation involve changes in cardiac haemodynamics?

Show Summary Details



The antifibrillatory mechanism of biatrial (BI) pacing has not been fully elucidated. We investigated the role of a haemodynamic mechanism in eight patients implanted with a BI pacemaker (Chorus RM) by comparing changes in mitral Doppler flow and atrial and B-type natriuretic peptide levels (ANP, BNP) with BI pacing compared with sinus rhythm and right atrial (RA) pacing.

Methods and Results

Measurements were taken after 60 min in the supine position in each of two pairs of randomized pacing modes: (a) AAI 40 beats.min−1, (allows sinus rhythm mean rate 56 beats.min−1, SR) vs AAI 40 beats.min−1with synchronized left atrial pacing (SRSync); (b) overdrive AAI RA pacing (89 beats.min−1(n=6) or 70 beats.min−1(n=2)) vs overdrive AAI BI pacing. Within each pair there was significant earlier activation of the left atrial Doppler signal in relation to the surface ECG P wave with BI pacing (SR 163±10 ms vs SRSync 144±21 ms (P=0·02), and RA 232±14 ms vs BI 196±16 ms (P=0·001)), and significant shortening of the P-R interval (SR 163±29 ms vs SRSync 148±20 (P=0·007) and RA 261±27 ms vs BI 232±23 (P=0·001)). The net observed effect was of no change in the atrioventricular timing sequence (delay of peak E or A to QRS/mitral valve closure) and no change in other Doppler echo parameters. Levels of the cardiac peptides ANP and BNP were raised compared with healthy controls, but did not significantly change during the study.


Acute BI pacing shortens the P-R interval and causes earlier left atrial contraction in relation to the surface electrocardiogram P wave. It does not alter the atrioventricular timing cycle, any other Doppler measurements or change cardiac peptide levels. This suggests that BI pacing does not cause haemodynamic changes that could account for any antifibrillatory properties.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; biatrial pacing; Doppler; natriuretic peptides

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.