Thirteen RCTs (1,387 participants) were included. Seven of these studies (874 participants) reported results for the duration of hospital stay.
In studies that compared biatrial AP with control, the incidence of AF was generally less in the pacing groups, although this was statistically significant in only five of the nine studies (see CRD Commentary for comment on the interpretation of P-values in the results tables). In one study the incidence was 50% in the pacing group and 22.2% in the control group; because of this the study was stopped early after the recruitment of 21 people (out of a planned 200).
In studies that compared right and left AP with control, the incidence of AF was generally similar, although one study found a markedly lower incidence in the right AP group compared with control left AP and biatrial AP.
In two of the seven studies that reported on the length of hospital stay, this was significantly shorter in the biatrial AP group compared with the control. In a third study the length of stay was similar, but the time spent in the intensive care unit was significantly less in the biatrial AP group. The remaining studies showed no difference in the incidence of AF between the pacing and control groups.
Adverse effects: in some studies pacing was discontinued early because of lead failure. No incidences of cardiac tamponade were reported.