The contribution of artificial pacemaking to understanding the pathogenesis of arrhythmias

Douglas P. Zipes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

24 Scopus citations


Right atrial or ventricular pacing was performed on 36 occasions in 26 patients in an attempt to terminate a variety of tachyarrhythmias. Of 16 episodes of atrial flutter, 13 were terminated successfully; in 9 of the 13, sinus rhythm or the patient's pre-flutter rhythm was restored immediately, whereas in 4 patients, intervening atrial fibrillation or unstable atrial flutter occurred. Pacing terminated paroxysmal atrioventricular junctional or paroxysmal atrial tachycardia on 3 occasions; in a fourth patient, this tachyarrhythmia terminated during catheter manipulation. Six episodes of pacemaker-induced ventricular tachycardia were abolished by ventricular pacing. In 2 patients, atrial tachycardia was only transiently suppressed, and in 1 of these patients, d-c cardioversion produced a similar effect. Atrial fibrillation, spontaneously converting to atrial flutter, resulted during pacing for atrial tachycardia with block; the latter arrhythmia returned when the atrial flutter was terminated. Atrial fibrillation in 7 patients remained unaffected by atrial pacing. Based on the different electrophysiologic mechanisms responsible for reentrant excitation and automatic pacemaker discharge, an attempt has been made to determine the pathogenesis of the tachyarrhythmia by its response to pacing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-222
Number of pages12
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1971

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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