Pacemaker lead prolapse through the pulmonary valve in children

Charles I. Berul, Juan Villafane, Dianne L. Atkins, Frank Cecchin, Joel A. Kirsh, James A. Johns, Ronald J. Kanter, Peter P. Karpawich

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11 Scopus citations


Background: Transvenous pacemaker leads in children are often placed with redundant lead length to allow for anticipated patient growth. This excess lead may rarely prolapse into the pulmonary artery and potentially interfere with valve function. We sought to determine the response to lead repositioning on pulmonary valve insufficiency. Methods: Retrospective reviews of demographics, lead type, implant duration, and radiography and echocardiography. Results: A total of 11 pediatric patients were identified with lead prolapse through the pulmonary valve, of which nine patients underwent procedures to retract and reposition the lead (age at implant 9 ± 4 years, age at revision 13 ± 4 years). The implant duration prior to revision was 4 ± 3 years. Two leads required radiofrequency extraction sheaths for removal, two pulled back using a snare, while five leads were simply retracted and repositioned. Tricuspid regurgitation was none/trivial (three), mild (four), or moderate (two) and only two improved with repositioning or replacement. Pulmonary regurgitation preoperatively was mild (three), mild-moderate (two), or moderate (four) compared with trivial (three), mild (four), and moderate (two) after revision. Patients with longer-term implanted leads had less improvement in pulmonary insufficiency. Two patients had mild pulmonary stenosis from lead-related obstruction. Conclusions: Prolapse of transvenous pacing leads into the pulmonary artery can occur when excess slack is left for growth. Leads can often be repositioned, but may require extraction and replacement, particularly if chronically implanted and adherent to valve apparatus. Lead revision does not always resolve pulmonary insufficiency, potentially leaving permanent valve damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1189
Number of pages7
JournalPacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Pacemaker lead
  • Pediatrics
  • Pulmonary valve


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