Overnight heart rate and cardiac function in patients with dual chamber pacemakers

Paul H. Chew, David E. Bush, Bernard T. Engel, Mark I. Talan, R. Tracy Abell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Animal data indicate that chronic, overnight pacing at normal evening heart rates impairs cardiac function. We examined the relationship of pacing rate and cardiac function in nine patients with dual-chamber pacemakers. We investigated two, 3-week pacing regimens (80 and 50 ppm: DDD mode) in a cross-over design. Doppler echocardiograms were performed at 1700 hours (PM) and 0600 hours (AM) at the end of each regimen. Ventricular function and preload decreased overnight (PM vs AM) with both pacing regimens. Compared to the morning values, the ratio of preejection to ejection time (PEP/ET) rose (0.43 vs 0.46), while the mean velocity of circumferential fiber shortening (V(cf)) fell (1.16 cm/s vs 1.11 cm/s). Stroke volume (SV) (61 mL vs 53 mL) and ejection fraction (EF) also fell (0.56 vs 0.53) in the morning. End- diastolic volume (EDV) (94 mL vs 88 mL) decreased in the morning, as did the ratio of passive to active filling (E/A) (1.06 vs 0.96). Isovolumic relaxation time (91 ms vs 101 ms) increased overnight at both pacing rates. Systolic function decreased at 80 ppm relative to 50 ppm at both times of day. SV fell (54 mL vs 61 mL), while both EDV (92 mL vs 90 mL) and end- systolic volume (ESV) increased (43 mL vs 40 mL). Contractility measured by V(cf) (1.09 cm/s vs 1.18 cm/s) and PEP/ET (0.49 vs 0.41) was reduced at 80 ppm. The heart needs to rest at night by slowing its rate of contraction. Pacing at 80 ppm impairs systolic and diastolic ventricular function compared to 50 ppm. Longer term consequences of ostensibly physiological pacing rates merit inquiry, particularly in those with preexisting cardiac dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-828
Number of pages7
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996


  • circadian
  • heart failure
  • heart rate
  • pacemaker artificial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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