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Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2014 Apr;7(2):330-6. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.113.001151. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Prophylactic lead extraction at implantable cardioverter-defibrillator generator change.

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Department of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA.



Current implantable cardiac devices have a finite battery life of ≈3 to 7 years for implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. It is current practice to reuse all properly functioning intravascular leads. We tested the hypothesis that a strategy of prophylactic lead removal at the time of device change would be superior under some conditions to the current practice of lead reuse.


Using currently available data and a Monte Carlo microsimulation trial, we calculated the risks of leaving an indwelling lead until extraction is indicated because of malfunction versus an aggressive management strategy of prophylactic serial extraction at time of generator change. With a serial lead exchange strategy of leads at generator change, there is reduced overall extraction-related mortality because of fewer late complications attributable to extraction of leads with high dwell time because of infection, recall, or subsequent lead failure. This finding is limited to young patients or those with high expected indwell time of lead. This trend reverses for leads with <40 years expected dwell time. Sensitivity analysis shows high dependence on extraction performance and device longevity. In all cases, serial extraction would be expected to lead to increased adverse events related to the more complex procedure.


A strategy of serial lead extraction, given best available current parameters, yields a lower procedural mortality risk in the long-term management of indwelling implantable cardioverter-defibrillator leads in young patients (>40-year estimated dwell time) driven by high aggregate anticipated risk of lifetime lead complication.


defibrillators, implantable; lasers

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