Background: With the increased number of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) recipients and the frequent need for device upgrading, lead malfunction is a concern, but the optimal approach to managing nonfunctioning leads is unknown. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the rate and characteristics of complications related to abandoned ICD leads. Methods: Patients with abandoned leads were identified by retrospective review of the Mayo Clinic ICD database from August 1993 to May 2002. We reviewed the medical records to assess long-term follow-up for venous thromboembolic complications, device sensing malfunction, appropriateness of delivered shocks, defibrillation threshold (DFT) values before and after lead abandonment, and subsequent surgical procedures related to devices or leads. Results: We identified 78 ICD patients (81% males; mean age 63 ± 14 years) with 101 abandoned leads (69 in the right ventricle, 31 in the right atrium or superior vena cava, 1 in the coronary sinus). During a mean follow-up of 3.1 ± 2.0 years, neither sensing malfunction nor venous thromboembolic complications were detected. DFT values were high in 13 patients (17%), but there was no significant increase in mean DFT values before and after lead abandonment in 43 patients for whom both values were available (16.2 ± 9.2 J before abandonment vs 14.1 ± 5.5 J after; P = .24). Fourteen patients (18%) required further ICD-related surgery; none of these operations were attributed to abandoned leads. Five-year rates of appropriate and inappropriate shocks were 25.9% and 20.5%, respectively. Conclusion: Abandoning a nonfunctioning lead appears to be safe and does not pose a clinically significant additional risk of future complications.
- Abandoned leads
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator