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J Long Term Eff Med Implants. 2010;20(3):187-202.

Long-term efficacy of cardiac pacemakers and implantable cardioverter/defibrillators.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Bristish Columbia, Canada. matthew.bennett@vch.ca


Cardiac pacemakers and implantable cardioverter/defibrillators are becoming more common due to expanded indications and increasing patient survival. In addition, these device systems are being implanted in younger patients, which increases their necessity for long-term durability. Device adverse events can be seen early, during or following implantation (perforation, lead dislodgement, infection), or late (lead fraction, insulation failure or device system infection). These adverse events can, at least in part, be attributed to intrinsic device system structure. Since the initial pacemakers and implantable cardioverter/defibrillators, many modifications in both device system hardware and software have been made to enhance both their durability and function. The current era of devices appear to have made adjustments for previous inadequacies and promise to be reliable and to function well. Despite this, however, it is necessary for clinicians to be aware of possible malfunctions, their warning signs, and the appropriate course of action should these malfunctions be encountered. In this review we describe the common device system malfunctions and device system insertion complications.

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