Transesophageal Pacing for Temporary Heart Rate Acceleration and Management of Hemodynamics

Use of the pill electrode for transesophageal atrial pacing.

Jenkins JM, Dick M, Collins S, O'Neill W, Campbell RM, Wilber DJ. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 1985 Jul;8(4):512-27. The pill electrode, which was developed for esophageal electrocardiography, has found application in transesophageal atrial pacing during procedures such as conversion of tachycardia, electrophysiologic measurement, and acceleration of heart rate to produce stress during cardiac imaging studies. This paper presents theoretical studies that examine the relationship of interelectrode distance, current level, and pulse duration to the achievement of successful capture. Theoretical results agree with our clinical findings, i.e., current levels of 25 mA are effective to sustain capture; increased pulse duration reduces current requirements; and close bipolar spacing combines efficacy with safety. Results of animal studies performed to assess the extent of esophageal burn injury reveal that current levels in excess of 75 mA are required to produce lesions in short-term (under 30 minutes) pacing, and greater than 60 mA in long-term (4 hours) pacing. These results are based on experiments using a pulse duration of 2 ms, and the current levels that produce injury will be considerably lower if longer pulse durations are used. Typical current levels and pulse durations for successful capture are presented for 46 subjects in several new clinical applications. Termination of tachycardia, basic electrophysiologic measurements, and controlled acceleration of heart rate can be performed noninvasively with this technique.

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