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Curr Opin Cardiol. 1999 Jan;14(1):44-51.

Extraction of pacemaker and implantable cardioverter defibrillator leads.

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Division of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.


The common reasons for removal of pacing and defibrillator leads are infection, malfunction, or design defects such as fracture of J wires in Teletronics Accufix leads (Telectronics Pacing, Englewood, CO), which impose considerable risk for cardiac morbidity and mortality. Chronically implanted leads are fixed to the myocardium by fibrous tissue. Fibrous scar tissue may also encase the lead along its course. Furthermore, fragility of the lead and its tendency to break when extraction force is applied to overcome resistance imparted by the scar tissue add to the challenge of lead extraction. Thus, the extraction of chronically implanted leads is an important issue. Until a few years ago, the only methods available for the removal of chronically implanted leads were traction on the proximal segment of the lead and cardiac surgery. New techniques were developed to extract the leads by a transvenous approach using locking stylets, sheaths, snares, and retrieval baskets. Lead extraction using intravascular countertraction methods has since evolved as a specialty of its own. Progress has also been made in developing other system, such as Excimer laser energy for lead extraction. In this article, we discuss principles, techniques, and experience with these methods of extraction of chronic pacemaker and defibrillator leads.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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