Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device Infections: Added Complexity and Suboptimal Outcomes With Previously Abandoned Leads

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Year Published: 

Hussein AA, Tarakji KG, Martin DO, Gadre A, Fraser T, Kim A, Brunner MP, Barakat AF, Saliba WI, Kanj M, Baranowski B, Cantillon D, Niebauer M, Callahan T, Dresing T, Lindsay BD, Gordon S, Wilkoff BL, Wazni OM. 

JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2017;3:1-9.


Objectives:  The study sought to assess the impact of previously abandoned leads on the clinical management of cardiac device infections, notably transvenous lead extraction and subsequent clinical course.

Background:  The population of patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices continues to grow with a disproportionate increase in device infections, which are invariably life threatening. A potentially complicating issue is the widely practiced strategy of device lead abandonment at the time of system revision, change, or upgrade, which is affecting an increasing number of patients.

Methods:  The study assessed the impact of previously abandoned leads in a prospectively maintained registry of consecutive patients undergoing percutaneous extraction of infected cardiac devices at the Cleveland Clinic between August 1996 and September 2012. The primary clinical endpoint was complete procedural and clinical success defined as the successful removal of the device and all lead material from the vascular space, in the absence of a major complication.

Results:  Of 1,386 patients with infected cardiac devices, 323 (23.3%) had previously abandoned leads. Failure to achieve the primary endpoint occurred more frequently in patients with abandoned leads (13.0% vs. 3.7%; p < 0.0001). This was primarily due to retention of lead material (11.5% vs. 2.9%; p < 0.0001), which was associated with poor clinical outcomes including higher rates of 1-month mortality (7.4% vs. 3.5% in those without lead remnants). Lead extraction procedures in patients with previously abandoned leads were longer (p < 0.0001), with longer fluoroscopy times (p < 0.0001), and more likely to require specialized extraction tools (94.4% vs. 81.8%; p < 0.0001) or adjunctive rescue femoral workstations (14.9% vs. 2.9%; p < 0.0001). Procedural complications occurred more frequently in patients with previously abandoned leads (11.5% vs. 5.6%; p = 0.0003), which was true for both major (3.7% vs. 1.4%; p = 0.009) and minor complications (7.7% vs. 4.4%; p = 0.02).

Conclusions:  Previously abandoned leads complicate the management of cardiac device infections, leading to worse clinical outcomes.

Link to article on JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology