Syncope in Patients with Cardiac Pacemakers

Eduardo Arrais Rocha Gisele Schineider Cunha Aline Bezerra Tavares Antônio Brazil Viana Júnior Ana Rosa Pinto Quidute Francisca Tatiana Moreira Pereira Marcelo de Paula Martins Monteiro Maria Eduarda Quidute Arrais Rocha Camila Rabelo Ferreira Gomes Carlos Roberto Martins Rodrigues SobrinhoAbout the authors



It is challenging to diagnose syncope in patients with pacemakers. Because these patients have increased morbidity and mortality risks, they require immediate attention to determine the causes in order to provide appropriate treatment. This study aimed to investigate the causes and predictive factors of syncope as well as the methods used to diagnose syncope in cardiac pacemaker patients.


Patients with pacemakers implanted owing to sinus node disease or atrioventricular block were evaluated with standardized questionnaires, endocavitary electrograms, and other tests based on the suspected causes of syncope. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to analyze continuous variables and Chi-squared or Fisher’s exact tests were used for categorical variables. Logistic regression was used for multivariate analyses. Statistical significance was P<0.05.


The study included 95 patients with pacemakers: 47 experienced syncope in the last 12 months and 48 did not. Of the 100 documented episodes of syncope, 48.9% were vasovagal syncopes, 17% had cardiac-related causes, 10.6% had unknown causes, and 8.5% had pacemaker failure. The multivariate analysis showed that a New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Class II was a significant factor for developing syncope (P<0.01).


While the most common type of syncope in pacemaker patients was neurally mediated, it is important to perform detailed evaluations in this population as the causes of syncope can be life-threatening. The best diagnostic methods were stored electrogram analysis and the tilt table test. NYHA Functional Class II patients were found to have a higher risk for syncope.

Syncope; Pacemaker, Artificial; Cardiac Conduction System Disease; Surveys and Questionnaires; Attention

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