Background: Uncontrolled studies have shown that short atrioventricular delay dual chamber pacing reduces outflow tract obstruction in hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. Although the exact mechanism of this beneficial effect is unclear, this seems a promising potential new treatment for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.
Method: In order to evaluate the impact of pacing therapy, were performed a randomized multicentre double-blind cross-over (pacemaker activated vs non activated) study to investigate modification of echocardiography, exercise tolerance, angina, dyspnoea and quality of life in 83 patients with a mean age of 53 (range 22-87) years with symptoms refractory or intolerant to classical drug treatment.
Results: After 12 weeks of activated or inactivated pacing, independent of which phase was first, the pressure gradient fell from 59 +/- 36 mmHg to 30 +/- 25 mmHg (P < 0.001) with active pacing. Exercise tolerance improved by 21% in those patients who at baseline tolerated less than 10 min of Bruce protocol; symptoms of dyspnoea and angina also improved significantly from NYHA class 2.4 to 1.4 and 1.0 to 0.4, respectively (P < 0.007). Quality of life assessment with a validated questionnaire objectivated the subjective improvement.
Conclusion: Pacemaker therapy is of clinical and haemodynamic benefit for patients with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, left ventricular outflow gradient at rest over 30 mmHg who are symptomatic despite drug treatment.