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Europace. 2001 Jan;3(1):56-9.

Permanent pacemaker implantation via the femoral vein: an alternative in cases with contraindications to the pectoral approach.

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  • 1Department of Invasive Cardiology and Electrophysiology, Royal Brompton Hospital, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP, UK.



This paper presents a consecutive series of permanent pacemakers (PPM) implanted via the femoral vein in patients with contraindications to pacing systems via the superior vena cava (SCV). The femoral vein approach is a less invasive and feasible alternative to epicardial lead placement.


Twenty-seven patients had femoral pacemakers inserted. Indications for femoral vein pacemaker insertion were: SVC/subclavian obstruction (12 patients, 44.4%), previous infection in SVC leads (four patients, 14.8%), mastectomy and/or radiotherapy to chest (four patients, 14.8%), multiple leads in SVC (two patients, 7.4%), recurrent erosion (two patients, 7.4%), abnormal anatomy (one patient, 3.7%), painful pacemaker pocket (one patient, 3.7%) and burns (one patient, 3.7%). Fifty-one leads, 25 atrial and 26 ventricular, were inserted. The majority of leads were active fixations (96% of atrial leads and 85% ventricular leads).


During a mean follow-up of 36.5 months (range 0.9-116.5), six additional unplanned procedures were performed in four patients. Atrial lead displacement occurred in five leads (20%). There were no ventricular lead displacements. In two patients, box revision for pre-erosion was required. One patient had persistent pain at the site of abdominal pacemaker generator. Infection, thromboembolic events, thromophlebitis, evidence of lower limb venous occlusion and lead fracture did not occur.


Femoral vein PPM are a simple and feasible alternative in patients in whom the SVC approach is contraindicated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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