The Utility of Rapid Atrial Pacing Immediately Post-TAVR to Predict the Need for Pacemaker Implantation

JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2020 May 11;13(9):1046-1054. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2020.01.215. Epub 2020 Apr 15.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the utility of rapid atrial pacing immediately after transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to predict the need for permanent pacemaker implantation (PPI).

Background: Risk stratification for patients without high-grade atrioventricular block (AVB) after TAVR is imprecise and based on anatomic considerations, electrocardiographic characteristics, and clinical suspicion. A more reliable assessment is necessary to minimize inpatient rhythm monitoring and/or reduce unnecessary PPI.

Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing TAVR at 2 centers were included. After valve implantation in patients without pacemakers who did not have complete heart block or atrial fibrillation, the temporary pacemaker was withdrawn from the right ventricle and placed in the right atrium. Rapid atrial pacing was performed from 70 to 120 beats/min, and patients were assessed for the development of Wenckebach AVB. Patients were then followed for clinical outcomes, including PPI.

Results: A total of 284 patients were included. Of these, 130 (45.8%) developed Wenckebach AVB. There was a higher rate of PPI within 30 days of TAVR among the patients who developed Wenckebach AVB (13.1% vs. 1.3%; p < 0.001), with a negative predictive value for PPI in the group without Wenckebach AVB of 98.7%. A greater percentage of patients receiving self-expanding valves required PPI than those receiving a balloon-expandable valves (15.9% vs. 3.7%; p = 0.001), though these rates were still relatively low among patients who did not develop Wenckebach AVB (2.9% and 0.8%).

Conclusions: Atrial pacing post-TAVR is easily performed and can help identify patients who may benefit from extended rhythm monitoring. Patients who did not develop pacing-induced Wenckebach AVB demonstrated an extremely low likelihood of PPI.

Keywords: atrial pacing; electrophysiology study; permanent pacemaker implantation; transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / surgery*
  • Atrioventricular Block / diagnosis*
  • Atrioventricular Block / etiology
  • Atrioventricular Block / physiopathology
  • Atrioventricular Block / therapy
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Ohio
  • Pacemaker, Artificial
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Unnecessary Procedures