The American journal of cardiology

Extracting versus abandoning sterile pacemaker and defibrillator leads.

PMID 25697918


Nonfunctional or recalled cardiac implantable electronic device leads can be revised with either lead extraction (LE) or lead capping (LC). Factors that influence this decision and comparative outcomes of these strategies are unclear. We reviewed data from our institution to identify patients who received LE (n = 296) or LC (n = 192) from 2006 to 2012. Patients with infectious indications for lead removal were excluded. We compared unanticipated device-related procedures, defined as cardiac implantable electronic device procedures not for device upgrade or battery depletion, using a proportional hazards model adjusted for differences in baseline characteristics. Secondary outcomes were procedural complications, hospitalizations, and all-cause mortality. Patients who received LE were younger and more likely to have an operator with extraction experience (76% vs 26%, p <0.001). Leads removed by experienced extractors versus nonextractors had longer dwell times (4.2 ± 3.6 vs 0.9 ± 1.1 years, p <0.001). Over a median follow-up of 3.0 (interquartile range = 3.2) years, the adjusted risk of unanticipated device-related procedures was similar for LE versus LC (hazard ratio 1.04, 95% confidence interval 0.62 to 1.75). Complications, hospitalization rates, and mortality rates were also similar between the 2 groups. In conclusion, lead revision strategy is influenced by operator extraction experience and dwell time of leads. In our analysis, we found no difference in outcomes between the 2 strategies.