Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2000 Apr;17(4):455-61.

Twenty years experience with pediatric pacing: epicardial and transvenous stimulation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52057, Aachen, Germany. sachwehjs@aol.com



Permanent cardiac pacing in children and adolescents is rare and often occurs by means of epicardial pacing. Based on two decades of experience, operative and postoperative data of patients with epicardial and transvenous pacing were analyzed retrospectively.


Between October 1979 and December 1998, 71 patients (mean age, 5.3+/-4.2, range, 1 day-16.2 years; mean body weight, 18+/-12; range, 8-56 kg) underwent permanent pacemaker implantation. Indications were sinus node dysfunction and atrio-ventricular block following surgery for congenital heart disease (69%), or congenital atrioventricular block (31%). Pacing was purely atrial (1.4%), purely ventricular (73%), ventricular with atrial synchronization (5. 6%), or atrioventricular synchronized (20%). Epicardial pacing was established in 49 (69%), transvenous in 22 (31%) patients. Follow-up was 3.4+/-3.8 years (epicardial) and 3.0+/-4.0 years (transvenous).


Epicardial leads were implanted in younger patients (mean age: 4.5 vs. 7.0 years, P<0.05) and preferably after surgery induced atrioventricular block (78 vs. 46%, P<0.05). The youngest patient with transvenous pacing was 1.3 years old (weight, 8.5 kg). At implantation epicardial ventricular stimulation threshold at 1.0 ms was 1.07+/-0.46 vs. 0.53+/-0.31 V (transvenous) (P<0.05). The age-adjusted rate of lead-related reoperations was significantly higher in patients with epicardial leads (P<0.05), mainly due to increasing chronic stimulation thresholds resulting in early battery depletion. In three patients who received steroid-eluting epicardial leads initial low thresholds persisted after five month to one years. In two patients with recurrent epicardial threshold increase, steroid-eluting epicardial leads led to good acute and chronic thresholds after nine to 15 month. Two post-operative death (2.8%) were probably due to a dysfunction of the (epicardial) pacing system.


Transvenous pacing in the pediatric population is associated with a lower acute stimulation threshold and a lower rate of lead-related complications. If epicardial pacing is necessary (e. g. small body weight, special intracardiac anatomy (e.g. Fontan), impossible access to superior caval vein), steroid-eluting leads may be considered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk