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Two Different Therapeutic Strategies in ICD Lead Defects: Additional Combined LeadVersus Replacement of the Lead


  • Drs. Böcker and Breithardt serve as consultants to Medtronic Inc. and Guidant Corp.

  • Manuscript received 15 February 2007; Revised manuscript received 31 May 2007; Accepted for publication 25 June 2007.

Address for correspondence: Dr. Rainer Gradaus, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik C, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, D-48149 Münster. Fax: +49-251-8347864; E-mail:


Objectives: Implantation of an additional HV-P/S lead versus extraction of the defective HV-P/S lead and implantation of a new one is one possible therapeutic approach in cases of a defective high-voltage pace/sense lead (HV-P/S). No information is available on potential differences in clinical outcome in these different approaches.

Methods: Between January 2000 and February 2006, 86 patients with HV-P/S lead defect received either an additional transvenous HV-P/S lead (n = 33, group 1) or the HV-P/S lead was replaced (n = 53, group 2). The duration of the initially implanted leads was significantly different in the two groups (7.4 ± 2.9; group 1 and 4.1 ± 3.4 years; group 2).The outcome of these two groups of patients was retrospectively analyzed.

Results: Seventy-three patients [85%] survived until the end of follow-up of 29 ± 15 (group 1) and 33 ± 21 (group 2) months (P = ns), respectively. Thirteen patients died: six in group 1 and seven in group 2 (P = ns). Fourteen patients experienced perioperative complications (group 1: six; group 2: eight; P = ns). ICD system-related complications occurred in 22 patients (group 1: seven; group two: 15; P = ns). The event-free cumulative survival of patients with additional and replaced HV-P/S lead for postoperative events (including death) after 1, 2, and 3 years was 82%, 70%, 70%, and 86%, 81%, 66%, respectively (P = 0.93).

Conclusions: Implantation of an additional HV-P/S lead or replacement of the HV-P/S lead in case of HV-P/S lead failure is statistically not different concerning mortality and morbidity. There are no predictors for further lead defects. Implantation of an additional HV-P/S lead should not be recommended in young patients or patients with greater likelihood of living many years. Predictors for death were an age over 70 years and renal insufficiency.