Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

The New England Journal of Medicine





First Page


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DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

January 2015



Background Standard clinical practice permits the use of either single-chamber ventricular pacemakers or dual-chamber pacemakers for most patients who require cardiac pacing. Ventricular pacemakers are less expensive, but dual-chamber pacemakers are believed to be more physiologic. However, it is not known whether either type of pacemaker results in superior clinical outcomes.

Methods The Pacemaker Selection in the Elderly study was a 30-month, single-blind, randomized, controlled comparison of ventricular pacing and dualchamber pacing in 407 patients 65 years of age or older in 29 centers. Patients received a dual-chamber pacemaker that had been randomly programmed to either ventricular pacing or dual-chamber pacing. The primary end point was health-related quality of life as measured by the 36-item Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form General Health Survey.

Results The average age of the patients was 76 years (range, 65 to 96), and 60 percent were men. Quality of life improved significantly after pacemaker implantation (P0.001), but there were no differences between the two pacing modes in either the quality of life or prespecified clinical outcomes (including cardiovascular events or death). However, 53 patients assigned to ventricular pacing (26 percent) were crossed over to dual-chamber pacing because of symptoms related to the pacemaker syndrome. Patients with sinus-node dysfunction, but not those with atrioventricular block, had moderately better quality of life and cardiovascular functional status with dual-chamber pacing than with ventricular pacing. Trends of borderline statistical significance in clinical end points favoring dual-chamber pacing were observed in patients with sinus-node dysfunction, but not in those with atrioventricular block.

Conclusions The implantation of a permanent pacemaker improves health-related quality of life. The quality-of-life benefits associated with dualchamber pacing as compared with ventricular pacing are observed principally in the subgroup of patients with sinus-node dysfunction. (N Engl J Med 1998;338:1097-104.)


From The New England Journal of Medicine, Lamas, G.A., Orav, E.J., Stambler, B.S., et al., Quality of Life and Clinical Outcomes in Elderly Patients Treated with Ventricular Pacing as Compared with Dual-Chamber Pacing, Vol. 338, Page 1097, Copyright © 1998 Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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VCU Internal Medicine Publications