According to research presented by Medtronic Monday, pacemakers with enhanced pacing features have the ability to slow the progression of atrial fibrillation in patients with bradycardia, or a slow heartbeat.

Presented as a late breaking clinical trial at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013 in Dallas, Tex., the MINERVA study found that Medtronic pacemakers with advanced pacing features -- an algorithm that promotes a more natural heartbeat in the right ventricle and one that paces to restore a normal atrial rhythm -- were able to significantly reduce the incidence of death, cardiovascular hospitalizations or permanent atrial fibrillation compared to pacemakers without these features.

"By addressing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common cardiac arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice, our study is the first to demonstrate that pacemakers with enhanced pacing features can significantly reduce the progression of this dangerous condition," said Luigi Padeletti, professor of cardiology at the University of Florence, Florence, Italy, and principal investigator of the MINERVA study. "We know that AF has been associated with a higher risk of heart failure, stroke and death, so slowing down the progression of this disease may help reduce a patient's risk of suffering these life-threatening conditions."

For more information about the study, go to: