Cardiac pacemaker treatement of heart block in Enugu: a 5 year review

  • E E Ekpe
  • M A Aghaji
  • S A Edaigbini
  • C N Onwuta
  • B Anisiuba


Background: Symptomatic heart block is a treatable cardiac cause of death which occurs globally. In Nigeria it is increasingly diagnosed and treated with permanent artificial cardiac pacemaker insertion and pulse generator implantation, sometimes after a period of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Methods: Twenty-three patients who were diagnosed with symptomatic heart block and surgically treated with permanent artificial cardiac pacemaker in National Cardiothoracic Centre, Enugu, between April 2001 and March 2006 had their case notes retrospectively reviewed and information entered into a proforma. This was analyzed. Patients diagnosed with symptomatic heart block but not treated with artificial cardiac pacemaker insertion were excluded from the study. There were eight such patients who could not afford the cost of surgical treatment during the period under review. Results: The mean age of the patients was 70 years and the commonest presentation was shortness of breath (100%). Hypertensive heart disease was present in 65% of the patients and a history of chronic chloroquine usage was positive in 73% of the patients. Predominant pre-treatment pulse rate was in the range of 30-40 per minute (43%) while 21% of the patients had pulse rate below 30 per minute. These categories of patients commonly had Stoke-Adams syndrome. Sixty-seven per cent of the patients had predominantly systolic hypertension on admission and 16% had hypotension. Third degree heart block was present in 65% of the patients and 89% of all patients needed pre-pacing haemodynamic stabilization with positive inotropic / chronotropic drug(s). Treatment consisted of permanent endocardial pacing in 65% and epicardial pacing in 35% of the patients with equally good response in symptoms, haemodynamic parameters and electrocardiographic features. Conclusion: Permanent artificial cardiac pacing is the reliable treatment of symptomatic heart block and should be included in the National Health Insurance Scheme list

Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 17 (1) 2008 pp. 7-12

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eISSN: 2667-0526
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