Prognosis of patients with complete heart block or arrhythmic syncope who were not treated with artificial pacemakers. A long-term follow-up study of 101 patients.Acta Med Scand. 1976; 200(6):457-63.AM
This paper reports the results of a retrospective study carried out with special reference to the survival rate in a series of 101 selected cases including patients with complete heart block (CHB) combined or not combined with Adams-Stokes attacks and patients with arrhythmic syncope without ECG evidence of CHB. All these patients were treated in our Department during 1958-68, none being artificially paced. Twenty-seven patients were alive at the end of the follow-up, i,e 6-15 years after admission to this Department on account of syncopal episodes or CHB. The survival rate--higher in females than males--was lower in the cases of CHB combined with Adams-Stokes attacks than in the cases of asymptomatic CHB. This applied also to the instances in which a complicating disease such as ischaemic heart disease (IHD), hypertension, diabetes, digitalis intoxication or cardiac enlargement coexisted. The survival rate in the 68 cases of CHB was higher at one year (68%) as well as at 5 years (37%) than that reported by other investigators. When assessing the survival rate in cases treated with artificial pacemakers, it is important to study the individual case histories with special reference to a previous or coexisting condition such as IHD, hypertension, diabetes or the presence of cardiac enlargement. The present results support the view that the indications for treatment with artificial pacing should be wide, albeit that the prognosis in this series was more favourable than might have been anticipated from observations by others.