Clinical experience with Thera DR rate-drop response pacing algorithm in carotid sinus syndrome and vasovagal syncope

David G. Benditt, Richard Sutton, Michael D. Gammage, Toby Markowitz, Joanne Gorski, Gary A. Nygaard, Joseph Fetter

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91 Scopus citations


This study examined the effectiveness of cardiac pacing using the Thera DR rate-drop response algorithm for prevention of recurrent symptoms in patients with carotid sinus syndrome (CSS) or vasovagal syncope. The algorithm comprises both diagnostic and treatment elements. The diagnostic element consists of a programmable "window" used to identify heart rate changes compatible with an evolving neurally mediated syncopal episode. The treatment arm consists of pacing at a selectable rate and for a programmable duration. Forty-three patients (mean age 53 ± 20.4 years) with CSS alone (n = 8), CSS in conjunction with vasovagal syncope (n = 4), or vasovagal syncope alone (n = 31) were included. Thirty-nine had recurrent syncope, while the remaining four reported multiple presyncopal events. Prior to pacing, 40 ± 152 syncopal episodes (range from 1 to approximately 1,000 syncopal events) over the preceding 56 ± 84.5 months. Postpacing follow-up duration was 204 ± 172 days. Three patients have been lost to follow-up and in one patient the algorithm was disabled. Among the remaining 39 individuals, 31 (80%) indicated absence or diminished frequency of symptoms, or less severe symptoms. Twenty-three patients (23/29, or 59%) were asymptomatic with respect to syncope or presyncope. Sixteen patients had symptom recurrences. Of these, seven experienced syncope (7/39, or 18%) and 9 (29%) had presyncope: the majority of patients with recurrences (6/7 syncope and 7/9 presyncope) were individuals with a history of vasovagal syncope. Consequently, although symptoms were observed during postpacing follow-up, they appeared to be of reduced frequency and severity. Thus, our findings suggest that a transient period of high rate pacing triggered by the Thera DR rate-drop response algorithm was beneficial in a large proportion of highly symptomatic patients with CSS or vasovagal syncope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-839
Number of pages8
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number3 II
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • Carotid sinus syndrome
  • Pacemaker
  • Vasovagal syncope


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