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Original research article
Complications and prognosis of patients undergoing apical or septal right ventricular pacing
  1. Nick B Spath1,
  2. Kelvin Wang1,
  3. Sowmya Venkatasumbramanian2,
  4. Omar Fersia2,
  5. David E Newby1,2,
  6. Chris CE Lang2,
  7. Neil R Grubb2 and
  8. Marc R Dweck1,2
  1. 1 BHF/University Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2 Edinburgh Heart Centre, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nick B Spath; Nick.Spath{at}


Objectives Optimal right ventricular lead placement remains controversial. Large studies investigating the safety and long-term prognosis of apical and septal right ventricular lead placement have been lacking.

Methods Consecutive patients undergoing pacemaker insertion for high-degree atrioventricular block at Edinburgh Heart Centre were investigated. Periprocedural 30-day complications were defined (infection/bleeding/pneumothorax/tamponade/lead displacement). Long-term clinical outcomes were obtained from the General Register of Scotland and electronic medical records. The primary endpoint was a composite of all-cause mortality, new heart failure, hospitalisation for a major cardiovascular event, as per the CArdiac REsynchronization in Heart Failure trial. Secondary endpoints were all-cause mortality, new heart failure and their composite.

Results 820 patients were included, 204 (25%) paced from the septum and 616 (75%) from the apex. All baseline variables were similar with the exception of age (septal: 73.2±1.1 vs apical: 76.9±0.5 years, p<0.001). Procedure duration (58±23 vs 55±25 min, p=0.3), complication rates (18 (8.8) vs 46 (7.5)%, p=0.5) and postimplant QRS duration (152 (23) vs 154 (27) ms, p=0.4) were similar. After 1041 days (IQR 564), 278 patients met the primary endpoint, with no difference between the septal and apical groups in unadjusted (HR 0.86 (95% CIs 0.64 to 1.15)) or multivariable analysis correcting for age, gender and comorbidity (HR 0.97 (95% CI 0.72 to 1.30)). Similarly, no differences were observed in the secondary endpoints.

Conclusions This large real-world cohort of patients undergoing right ventricular lead placement in the septum or apex demonstrated no difference in procedural complications nor long-term clinical outcomes. Both pacing strategies appear reasonable in routine practice.

  • right ventricular pacing
  • septal pacing
  • apical pacing

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  • NBS and KW contributed equally.

  • Contributors The study was conceived and designed by NBS, SV, DEN and MRD. Data collection was carried out by NBS and KW. Data analysis was carried out by NBS. The initial manuscript was compiled by NBS, KW and MRD. OF, SV, DEN, CEL and NG contributed substantially to critical revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding DEN and MRD were supported by the British Heart Foundation (CH/09/002 and FS/14/78/31020, respectively).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval NHS Lothian Clinical Audit Approval Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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