Perioperative management of patients with cardiac pacemakers may be challenging because of the increasing sophistication of these devices. We report a case of a patient with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) and with a permanent AAIR (bipolar atrial-inhibited adaptive rate) pacemaker who suffered life-threatening episodes of arrhythmias during operation. The first episode was vagally induced PAF during bowel manipulation; the second, induced by the increased pacing threshold from the external electric cardioversion and hyperkalemia. Transcutaneous pacing provided cardiac pacing and stabilized the patient during the second episode. Thorough preoperative evaluation and prophylactic placement of temporary pacing or at least transcutaneous pacing are important for the avoidance and minimization of intraoperative complications in patients with sick sinus syndrome and with an AAI (atrial inhibited) pacemaker.
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