Short-spaced dipole for managing phrenic nerve stimulation in patients with CRT: The phrenic nerve mapping and stimulation EP catheter study

Mauro Biffi, Francesco Zanon, Emanuele Bertaglia, Luigi Padeletti, Annamaria Varbaro, Tiziana De Santo, Giuseppe Boriani, Zhongping Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Phrenic nerve stimulation (PNS), occurring in 33%-37% of the patients with cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), is a limiting factor when implanting left ventricular (LV) leads from coronary veins. Objective: To test the hypothesis that PNS occurence is related to bipolar electrode spacing. Methods: During standard CRT defibrillator implant procedures, a 5-F diagnostic electrophysiology catheter with 10 electrodes, spaced 2-5-2 mm, was positioned in a cardiac vein suitable for permanent LV lead placement. Pacing in the unipolar configuration identified the site with the lowest PNS threshold. PNS and left ventricular pacing (LVP) thresholds were then measured in different configurations at 0.5 ms: unipolar, each LV electrode served as the cathode in turn; and bipolar with different electrode spacing, cathode being the electrode with the lowest unipolar PNS threshold. Results: From February to September 2010, 40 patients undergoing CRT implantation were enrolled in 4 centers in Italy. It was possible to identify PNS and perform a complete set of measurements in 23 patients. A bipolar electrode spacing of 2 mm resulted in higher PNS thresholds in bipolar configurations han did a bipolar electrode spacing of≥5 mm. However, no significant increase in the LVP threshold was observed (P = ns). Conclusions: This experience suggests that LVP with a bipolar electrode spacing of 2 mm significantly increases the PNS threshold without affecting the LVP threshold, thereby increasing the possibility of delivering CRT when the LV lead is placed in proximity to the phrenic nerve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Bipolar electrode spacing
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy
  • Phrenic nerve stimulation
  • Threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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