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Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2001 Mar;24(3):282-7.

Ancillary tools in pacemaker and defibrillator lead extraction using a novel lead removal system.

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Cardiology Section, Patras University, Patras, Greece.


A previous report described our preliminary experience with a highly successful pacing lead removal system (VasoExtor). Extending this experience, we found it necessary to use additional tools to enhance the success of percutaneous lead extraction with this system. In the present series, we used the standard locking stylets (S and K), and recently, one newer type of stylet (Magic) over the last 3 years in 34 patients to extract 48 pacemaker leads in 31 patients and 3 defibrillator (ICD) leads in 3 patients. Lead extraction was carried out in 23 men and 11 women (aged 64 +/- 17 years) because of pacemaker infection (n = 21), pacemaker (n = 8) or ICD (n = 3) lead malfunction, or prior to ICD implant (n = 2). Leads were in place for 3.5 +/- 3.7 years. Infections, involving pocket and lead(s), were due to S. epidermidis (n = 13), S. aureus (n = 6), S. aureus plus E. coli (n = 1), for fungi (n = 1). Of the 48 pacing leads, 31 were ventricular, 15 atrial, and 2 were VDD leads. The ICD leads were two double-coil leads (CPI) and one single-coil lead (Telectronics). Using the S (n = 12), K (n = 8), or Magic (n = 3) stylets, all pacing leads in 23 patients and the ICD leads in 2 patients were successfully removed from a subclavian approach using the locking stylets. However, in nine (26.5%) patients ancillary tools were required. In four patients, lead fragments were captured with use of a noose catheter, a pigtail catheter, and a bioptome from a right femoral approach. In two patients, locking could not be effected and a noose catheter from the right femoral vein was used, aided by a pigtail and an Amplatz catheter and a bioptome to remove three leads. In a patient with an ICD lead, a combined subclavian (stylet S) and right femoral approach (noose catheter) was required. In a patient with a dysfunctional ventricular lead 12 years old, a motor drive unit was used to facilitate the exchange of locking stylets, but extraction failed. In another patient, a fragment of a dysfunctional ventricular lead remained intravascularly despite resorting to a femoral approach. Finally, lead removal was completely (32/34, 94%) or partially (1/34, 3%) successful in 33 (97%) of 34 patients for 50 (98%) of 51 leads without complications. In conclusion, to enhance the success of pacing or ICD lead extraction with use of the VascoExtor locking stylets, an array of ancillary tools were required in more than one fourth of patients.

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