Sensing lead-related complications in patients with transvenous implantable cardioverter-defibrillators

Jennifer S. Lawton, Kenneth A. Ellenbogen, Mark A. Wood, Bruce S. Stambler, John M. Herre, Sunil Nath, Robert C. Bernstein, John P. DiMarco, David E. Haines, Szabolcs Szentpetery, Lenox D. Baker, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The widespread use of the redesigned Endotak™ lead (CPI, St. Paul, Minnesota), which combines transvenous pacing, sensing, and defibrillation on a single transvenous lead in patients receiving transvenous implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), has reduced morbidity and shortened length of hospital stay after ICD implantation. We describe the incidence and management of Endotak sensing lead-related failures in a series of 348 consecutive patients from 4 institutions who underwent implantation between 1990 and 1995. We retrospectively reviewed the databases for patients receiving an ICD with an Endotak lead for the incidence of lead-related sensing abnormalities. Ten patients (2.8%) with lead-related sensing abnormalities were detected at a mean of 15 ± 11 months after ICD implantation. Sensing abnormalities were detected in 6 patients after they received inappropriate shocks. Noise or oversensing was noted in 7 patients from interrogation of the devices' data logs. Eight patients had a new transvenous sensing lead placed, 1 patient had a new Endotak lead placed, and 1 had a chronic pacemaker sensing lead converted to function as a sensing lead. No further sensing problems were noted in 8 of 10 patients during a mean follow-up of 14 ± 8 months. The site of the sensing lead failure was localized to the subrectus pocket in 5 patients and to the clavicle-first rib area in 3 patients; it was undetermined and presumed to be in the clavicle-first rib area in the other 2 patients. One patient had late failure of the defibrillation lead. We conclude that Endotak sensing lead failure does not require insertion of a new Endotak lead, but can be managed with close follow-up and insertion of a new transvenous sensing lead. Endotak lead fractures are frequently localized to the ICD pocket.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-651
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996


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