Principles of differential diagnostic pacing maneuvers: serial versus parallel conduction

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2014 Jul;37(7):909-22. doi: 10.1111/pace.12425. Epub 2014 May 27.


In this article we will review differential diagnostic pacing maneuvers. It is not meant to be an exhaustive review of all such maneuvers. Rather, we offer some general analytic principles as they apply to electrophysiology (EP) and illustrate their use through several examples. Our hope is to provide a framework for thinking about electrogram data that acts more like a compass and map than like a specific set of directions. Amongst the most helpful pieces of advice that we can offer the EP trainee is to actively try to picture the waves of electricity spreading through the heart, passing beneath the recording electrodes and generating the electrograms you seek to interpret. Digest the fact that more than one propagation pattern can result in the same electrogram pattern and that differential diagnostic pacing is aimed at distinguishing between these possibilities. A fundamental tenet of differential diagnostic maneuvers of any kind (not simply pacing) is to choose a test that maximizes the difference between possible explanations. This perspective and a careful and meticulous cataloguing of what you can unambiguously conclude from the electrograms versus what remains to be determined via pacing offers the best approach to succeeding at EP. We will discuss pacing maneuvers in three contexts: differential diagnosis of narrow complex tachycardia, mapping of accessory pathways, and Para-Hisian pacing.

Keywords: SVT; electrophysiology - clinical; mapping; pacing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac / methods*
  • Humans
  • Tachycardia / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology*