Long-term follow-up of abandoned transvenous defibrillator leads: a nationwide cohort study

Anders Fyhn Elgaard, Jens Brock Johansen, Jens Cosedis Nielsen, Christian Gerdes, Sam Riahi, Berit Thornvig Philbert, Jens Haarbo, Thomas Maria Melchior, Jacob Moesgaard Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS : Commonly, a dysfunctional defibrillator lead is abandoned and a new lead is implanted. Long-term follow-up data on abandoned leads are sparse. We aimed to investigate the incidence and reasons for extraction of abandoned defibrillator leads in a nationwide cohort and to describe extraction procedure-related complications. METHODS AND RESULTS : All abandoned transvenous defibrillator leads were identified in the Danish Pacemaker and ICD Register from 1991 to 2019. The event-free survival of abandoned defibrillator leads was studied, and medical records of patients with interventions on abandoned defibrillator leads were audited for procedure-related data. We identified 740 abandoned defibrillator leads. Meantime from implantation to abandonment was 7.2 ± 3.8 years with mean patient age at abandonment of 66.5 ± 13.7 years. During a mean follow-up after abandonment of 4.4 ± 3.1 years, 65 (8.8%) abandoned defibrillator leads were extracted. Most frequent reason for extraction was infection (pocket and systemic) in 41 (63%) patients. Procedural outcome after lead extraction was clinical success in 63 (97%) patients. Minor complications occurred in 3 (5%) patients, and major complications in 1 (2%) patient. No patient died from complication to the procedure during 30-day follow-up after extraction. CONCLUSION : More than 90% of abandoned defibrillator leads do not need to be extracted during long-term follow-up. The most common indication for extraction is infection. Abandoned defibrillator leads can be extracted with high clinical success rate and low risk of major complications at high-volume centres.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1097-1102
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author(s) 2020. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


  • Abandoned
  • Abandonment
  • Defibrillator lead
  • Extraction
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator


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