Junctional bradycardia is a potential risk factor of stroke
The risk of embolic stroke during sick sinus syndrome before cardiac pacemaker insertion is substantial, but stroke after pacemaker insertion has not been well studied. We observed 10 sick sinus syndrome patients who developed an ischemic stroke 4 days to 112 months after pacemaker insertion. Nine patients represented 6% of the 156 ischemic stroke patients observed during a 30-month period. Eight had a ventricular-demand pacemaker, one had a dual-chamber pacemaker, and one had an atrial-inhibited pacemaker. Six patients were in atrial fibrillation at stroke onset, but none had atrial fibrillation when the pacemaker was inserted. Six patients were taking aspirin, and one was anticoagulated when stroke occurred. Stroke in sick sinus syndrome after pacemaker insertion is not rare, and pacing does not appear to be protective. Sick sinus syndrome patients who convert to atrial fibrillation or who have a ventricular-demand pacemaker might represent high-risk groups for stroke.