Extraction of chronically implanted cardiovascular electronic device leads

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1 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (CIED) are a remarkable success story. These systems are widely used to prevent symptomatic bradycardia, treat malignant tachyarrhythmia, and to restore a more physiologic contraction to a failing left ventricle. Implantation of a CIED usually involves a lifelong commitment to this therapy, which, unfortunately, is not free from complication requiring removal and/or replacement of all or part of the system. The major obstacle to removal of a CIED is the fibrous attachments that develop between a lead and co-existent leads, veins, and the heart. This process increases over time such that, by one year, removal by traction alone may be problematic and, if aggressive, result in complication. Physicians, surgeons, and engineers have refined techniques of percutaneous lead extraction and developed tools, which have facilitated the process, increased success, and lowered the incidence of complication. Extraction may be performed for a variety of indications some of which are unanimously agreed upon while others remain controversial. Proponents of a broadened application of extraction have proffered the concept of 'lead management,' which includes the removal of all leads that are not clinically relevant to the patient. The benefit of this approach would be to limit the risk of future complication, such as venous occlusion or thromboembolism, and to obviate the increase in difficulty of extraction (due to longer implant duration) that might accompany removal should that be required in the future. Intuitively appealing as this approach might be, there is little evidence supporting it, and the extraordinarily large number of patients currently implanted with recalled ICD leads is indicative of the potential impact this practice may have. This review will discuss extraction, its indications, and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number325
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Cardiovascular implantable electronic devices
  • Complications
  • Lead extraction
  • Lead management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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