Transesophageal Pacing for Temporary Heart Rate Acceleration and Management of Hemodynamics

An esophageal and gastric approach to ventricular pacing.

Cochrane DJ, McEneaney DJ, Dempsey GJ, Anderson JM, Adgey AA. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 1995 Jan;18(1 Pt 1):28-33. Using a unipolar esothoracic pacing system (where current passes from a point source positioned in the distal esophagus to a chest wall pad) and pulse duration of 50 msec, satisfactory 1:1 ventricular capture was obtained in 57 (86%) of 66 patients, with a mean threshold current of 27.7 mA at an optimal depth of 40.3 cm from the lower lip. When the unipolar esothoracic and bipolar transesophageal ventricular pacing systems were compared, the bipolar system was associated with a lower success rate and higher threshold current. When unipolar esothoracic pacing and gastrothoracic pacing (where current passes from a point source positioned in the stomach to a chest wall pad) were compared in 23 patients with bradyarrhythmia, ventricular capture was achieved using gastrothoracic pacing in 22 patients (96%) and esothoracic pacing in 21 (91%): gastrothoracic pacing required less current (16.0 mA +/- SD 7.2 vs 25.8 mA +/- SD 8.6). Optimal ventricular capture occurred using a unipolar gastrothoracic pacing electrode inserted to an average depth of 44.3 cm together with a high impedance chest pad (250 omega) placed in the fourth interspace at the left sternal edge, with 50-msec current pulses and a mean threshold of 16.0 mA. Thus, using a gastroesophageal electrode system, ventricular pacing can be achieved successfully, and the availability of such a system could play a major role in resuscitation of patients from severe bradyarrhythmias.

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