- Objectives. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of impedance cardiography to determine the change in cardiac output caused by modifications in the atrioventricular (AV) delay in DDD (dual-chamber) pacing mode while pacing the atrium and ventricle at different programmed rates. Background. Impedance cardiography permits continuous noninvasive monitoring of hemodynamic variables on a beat to beat basis. Methods. Eleven patients with a DDD pacemaker were evaluated by impedance cardiography. Stroke volume, cardiac output and total peripheral resistance were assessed in the supine rest position during both DDD and ventricular (VVI) pacing. Hemodynamic variables were measured during DDD pacing at rates ranging from 60 to 110 beats/min in 10-beats/min increments with programmed AV delay varying from 50 to 250 ms in 50-ms increments. When the pacemaker was reprogrammed to the VVI pacing mode, these measurements were repeated at the same pacing rates. Results. Cardiac output measurements during programmed conditions were found to be highly reproducible. The mean coefficient of variation was 3% during DDD pacing; it was 6% in the VVI pacing mode. A large decrease in cardiac output (≈30%) was found when i pacemaker was reprogrammed from the DDD to the VVI pacing mode. At DDD pacing rates between 70 to 110 beats/min, the highest cardiac output occurred at an average AV delay of < 120 ms from atrial stimulus to ventricular stimulus. At an average AV delay of ≥200 ms, the cardiac output in the DDD and VVI pacing modes was similar. Conclusions. 1) Impedance cardiography allows highly reproducible noninvasive assessments of cardiac output in pacemaker patients; 2) inappropriate programming of the AV interval in patients with atrial and ventricular pacing can decrease cardiac output significantly, and the extent of the decrease is similar to or less than that observed in ventricular pacing; 3) hemodynamic measurements obtained with impedance cardiography can facilitate optimal programming of pacemaker variables.