Introduction: Atrioventricular (AV) node conduction disturbances are common following surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), and in some cases the patient needs a permanent pacemaker (PPM) implantation before discharge from hospital. Little is known about the long-term need for PPM and the PPM dependency of these individuals. We determined the incidence of PPM implantation before and after discharge in SAVR patients. Methods: We studied 557 consecutive patients who underwent SAVR for aortic stenosis in Iceland between 2002 and 2016. Timing and indication for PPM were registered, with a new concept, ventricular pacing proportion (VPP), defined as ventricular pacing ≥90% of the time, being used to approximate pacemaker dependency. The median follow-up time was 73 months. We plotted the cumulative incidence of pacemaker implantation, treating death as a competing risk. Results: Of the 557 patients, 22 (3.9%) received PPM in the first 30 days after surgery, most commonly for complete AV block (n = 14) or symptomatic bradycardia (n = 8); Thirty-eight other patients (6.8%) had a PPM implanted >30 days postoperatively, at a median of 43 months after surgery (range 0‒181), most often for AV block (n = 13) or sick-sinus syndrome (n = 10). The cumulative incidence of PPM implantation at 1, 5, and 10 years postoperatively was 5.0%, 9.2%, and 12.3%, respectively. During follow-up, 45.0% of the 60 patients had VPP ≥90%. Conclusion: The cumulative incidence of permanent pacemaker implantation following SAVR was about 12% at 10 years, with every other patient having VPP ≥90% during follow-up. This suggests that AV node conduction disturbances extend significantly beyond the perioperative period.
This research was supported by grants from the Landspitali University Research Fund and the University of Iceland Research Fund. The authors wish to thank Solveig Helgadottir MD and Inga L. Ingvarsdottir MD, for helping with data collection and Gunnhildur Johannesdottir for secretarial help.
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