Pacemakers in children: An update

John D. Kugler, David A. Danford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


This report reviews recent pacemaker technological advances as they apply to infants, children, and adolescents. Indications for pacemaker implantation in children have evolved since the 1984 Joint Task Force Guidelines. Recent data show that pacemaker implantation should be strongly considered in patients who have (1) asymptomatic congenital complete AV block with a mean heart rate less than 50 beats/min or other evidence of junctional instability; (2) congenital AV block with long QT interval; or (3) congenital long QT syndrome with bradyarrhythmias, or when conventional beta-blocker therapy is unsuccessful. Permanent pacemaker implantation is not necessarily an effective prophylactic measure against sudden death in patients following their operation who are receiving drug therapy for atrial tachyarrhythmias, and so is not absolutely indicated. New developments in lead technology have made transvenous lead systems more feasible for pediatric use. Because epicardial leads are required for small infants and for cosmetic reasons in some older children, design improvements are needed to enhance epicardial lead performance. Rate-responsive pacing is an acceptable alternative to dualchamber pacing for augmenting exercise tolerance, and for children with sinus node dysfunction it is the preferred pacing mode. Pacemakers with automatic antitachycardia capabilities and with noninvasive electrophysiology features are valuable in children with atrial tachyarrhythmias. New data suggest that chronic atrial pacing also may be effective in controlling atrial tachyarrhythmias. New developments in pacemaker systems for the young parallel those for the older population, but differences between adult and pediatric patients demand ongoing increased participation by pediatric cardiologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-679
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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