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Lead Fracture


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  • Lead Fracture

    I was wondering how long it takes, recuperation time to get a new lead. I just found out one of my leads are fractured.

  • #2

    I believe it is not too big a procedure. It is just dropping another line in place as they do not change them out. It would be like when you had your devise put in but much less invasive as you are keeping the devise .

    I think if you do a search you will find some info on this. A while back we had a discussion about bad leads and why they don't normally remove them and just add a new one in and I believe there was some mention about the shorter recovery.

    I am sure someone who has had a new lead will give you a response soon.

    Good luck with it and let us know what they do .

    Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
    Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
    Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
    SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
    [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
    Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
    Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
    Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin


    • #3
      Thanks for the response. My biggest question is recuperation time, and the only reason why this is my biggest question is cause I have a 19 month old at home.

      Thanks again,


      • #4
        Typically they will suggest no lifting for 4-6 weeks but you will need to talk to your doctor about this as the time may vary based on which lead it is and other factors.

        It may get a little tricky not lifting your son up for a month - but he can always sit on your lap or you can sit on the floor with him.

        My daughter was 2 when I got my first ICD - so I can relate to this issue very well. There are always ways to find cuddle time to make up for those times when you are not able to pick him up. I was worried in advance of this situation - but in fact it worked out just fine.

        Best wishes,
        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


        • #5
          Hi Bryan,

          I just had a lead replacement (or revision), as they called it, Dec. 2nd.

          I went into the hospital the day of the revision, was pretty much awake through the procedure, (well sedated), stayed the night and went home the next day. You stay the night so that they can watch for complications... blood clot, lung puncture, etc.

          My recovery was pretty much the same as the implant. No lifting for 6 weeks, don't raise your arm above your head, ect.

          I was pretty sore for a couple of weeks and then it started to get better. I still have some soreness over the device, but I think it's because my Dr. moved my device. She said it had sagged. The recuperation is just about the same as when you first got your device. You have to be careful of the lead, just like then, so you have to be a bit more careful than if you just have your device replaced.

          My doctor said that it's common to be more sore after a revision than just an implant, because they are cutting through scar tissue.

          They did not remove my old lead, as that is quite difficult. (The end of the lead has little "hooks" which hook into the heart, like fishing hooks, so that makes them impossible to just pull out.) The only problem with that, my doctor said, is that now I have 3 leads the size of angel hair pasta in one vein. It may cause my left arm to go to sleep easier, and eventually, if I get plaque build-up, it may cause a blockage, so we have to watch that.

          I have noticed the arm going to sleep easier, but that is easily remidied by just moving your arm around.

          That's about it. If you have any other questions, just let me know.

          Good luck!



          • #6
            Thanks for the reply. I'm going today for a ultra sound of the vein under my collar bone where the leads are inserted. They are doing this to see if they can go in through the left, if not they are going to put it in through the right. My ICD was implanted almost 12 years ago, and its in my abdomen. I also have a sub Q patch what ever that does and is. The Dr said that he would recommend moving my ICD to under my collar bone seeing I'm young (28). I asked him what that would consist of and he said he would remove all my old leads, remove the patch, and replace it. After hearing this I decided, Ill just keep it where it is. Why extract if it really doesn't HAVE to be done. Right know I'm just waiting until the 21 knowing I can get an unprovoked shock, cause of the fractured lead. It makes it a little hard to want to do anything KNOWING at any given time this unprovoked shock can come. But its better to get an unprovoked then to NOT get one at all

            Take Care


            • #7
              Hey Bryan,

              I, also, faced unprovoked shocks because of the fractured lead, or insulation problem, as they called it.

              In fact, the last time I went to my EP right before my revision, she told me that I had had 3 near misses, where my device had charged to shock me. I had been washing my hair each time. The movement of my arm was triggering the event. At the last minute each time, the device checked whether the shock was needed again, decided that it wasn't, and then bled off the energy. I had quit washing my hair.

              Anyway, something you might find interesting. My tech, who checks my device every three months, told me that he would never have a lead removed if he was in that position. And also, that anyone he loved, or any member of his family would never have a lead removed. He said that it is very dangerous, because of the procedure the removal requires, since the leads are barbed at the end. I guess it is just so difficult. He said, "I could probably lose my job for telling you this". Also, my EP said that it is incredibly difficult to remove a lead.

              I hope that you can make the right decision. Sometime in the future, I may need to have leads removed, too. A hard choice to make, it seems...

              Let us know how it goes.

              My best,



              • #8
                My EP warned about the "difficulty" in lead extraction from two points of view.

                1. The barbed end. Ever get your finger hooked? Its not a good scenario.
                2. The tissue build up around the vein that seals the joint needs to be cut/scraped what ever and thats not easy or healthy to separate.

                I am VERY concerned about the complications here. Fisrt I was told the battery was the only think needing replacement (~6 years barring any more recalls). Upon further discussion at a later date I learned that the Leads have a 12 year life. With the above removal concerns coupled with the possible blockage of just leaving them in I wonder quite a bit about this technology. Lead wear is a mechanical issue. I am now less concerned about the electronics and more concerned about these leads.

                We can put a man on the moon, split atoms, harness the power of the atom but we can not build a simple electrode to withstand the internal human cavity? I think this nut should be cracked.......soon real soon.


                • #9
                  Most of the time when leads need to be replaced they just add more leads. They will do all they can to avoid actually removing one. When they do, I suggest you go to a center that has done a lot of them and uses the laser procedure. It "melts" the tissue around the implanted end so the lead can be removed easily. I hope this helps allay some of your fears.


                  Husband has HCM.
                  3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.


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