Background: Chronic right ventricular (RV) pacing is associated with deleterious effects on cardiac function.
Objective: In an observational multicentre study in children with isolated atrioventricular (AV) block receiving chronic ventricular pacing, the importance of the ventricular pacing site on left ventricular (LV) function was investigated.
Methods: Demographics, maternal autoantibody status and echocardiographic measurements on LV end-diastolic and end-systolic dimensions and volumes at age <18 years were retrospectively collected from patients undergoing chronic ventricular pacing (>1 year) for isolated AV block. LV fractional shortening (LVFS) and, if possible LV ejection fraction (LVEF) were calculated. Linear regression analyses were adjusted for patient characteristics.
Results: From 27 centres, 297 children were included, in whom pacing was applied at the RV epicardium (RVepi, n = 147), RV endocardium (RVendo, n = 113) or LV epicardium (LVepi, n = 37). LVFS was significantly affected by pacing site (p = 0.001), and not by maternal autoantibody status (p = 0.266). LVFS in LVepi (39 ± 5%) was significantly higher than in RVendo (33 ± 7%, p < 0.001) and RVepi (35 ± 8%, p = 0.001; no significant difference between RV-paced groups, p = 0.275). Subnormal LVFS (LVFS < 28%) was seen in 16/113 (14%) RVendo-paced and 21/147 (14%) RVepi-paced children, while LVFS was normal (LVFS ≥ 28%) in all LVepi-paced children (p = 0.049). These results are supported by the findings for LVEF (n = 122): LVEF was <50% in 17/69 (25%) RVendo- and in 10/35 (29%) RVepi-paced patients, while LVEF was ≥ 50% in 17/18 (94%) LVepi-paced patients.
Conclusion: In children with isolated AV block, permanent ventricular pacing site is an important determinant of LV function, with LVFS being significantly higher with LV pacing than with RV pacing.