Patients with complications to their pacemakers or defibrillators are often referred to the specialists at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix's Cavanagh Heart Center for repair or reinsertion of the device.
Cavanagh Heart Center electrophysiologists are all board certified and fellowship trained to provide an advanced level of care for pacemaker or defibrillator complications.
What is lead extraction?
Pacemakers and defibrillators have special wires called leads that connect the device to the patient’s heart. These leads, which are placed inside the heart, deliver electrical pulses from the device to the heart muscle and help monitor the heart’s rhythm. Sometimes these leads are implanted but do not function well and they must be removed and repaired.
The most common way to remove a lead is through an incision in the upper chest. Sometimes this is not possible and the doctor must make an incision in the groin area.
Once the incision is made, a special tube is inserted into the vein and threaded over the lead until it reaches the tip where it is attached to the heart. A laser light or drill-like tip removes any scar tissue holding the lead in place and the lead is removed. It may be replaced with a new, more reliable lead at that time or later on.
Patients who undergo lead extraction are usually in the hospital one to two days. After the procedure, patients are monitored and either discharged if their procedure is complete or asked to remain in the hospital if new leads need to be implanted.
For More Heart Rhythm Information
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