Permanent epicardial pacing in pediatric patients: Seventeen years of experience and 1200 outpatient visits

Mitchell I. Cohen, David M. Bush, Victoria L. Vetter, Ronn E. Tanel, Tammy S. Wieand, J. William Gaynor, Larry A. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Background - The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term outcome of all pediatric epicardial pacing leads. Methods and Results - All epicardial leads and 1239 outpatient visits between January 1, 1983, and June 30, 2000, were retrospectively reviewed. Pacing and sensing thresholds were reviewed at implant, at 1 month, and at subsequent 6-month intervals. Lead failure was defined as the need for replacement or abandonment due to pacing or sensing problems, lead fracture, or phrenic/muscle stimulation. A total of 123 patients underwent 207 epicardial lead (60 atrial/147 ventricular, 40% steroid) implantations (median age at implant was 4.1 years [range 1 day to 21 years]). Congenital heart disease was present in 103 (84%) of the patients. Epicardial leads were followed for 29 months (range 1 to 207 months). The 1-, 2-, and 5-year lead survival was 96%, 90%, and 74%, respectively. Compared with conventional epicardial leads, both atrial and ventricular steroid leads had better stimulation thresholds 1 month after implantation; however, only ventricular steroid leads had improved chronic pacing thresholds (at 2 years: for steroid leads, 1.9 μJ [from 0.26 to 16 μJ]; for nonsteroid leads, 4.7 μJ [from 0.6 to 25 μJ]; P<0.01). Ventricular sensing was significantly better in steroid leads 1 month after lead implantation (at 2 years: for steroid leads, 8 mV [from 4 to 31 mV]; for nonsteroid leads, 4 mV [from 0.7 to 10 mV]; P<0.01). Neither congenital heart disease, lead implantation with a concomitant cardiac operation, age or weight at implantation, nor the chamber paced was predictive of lead failure. Conclusions - Steroid epicardial leads demonstrated relatively stable acute and chronic pacing and sensing thresholds. In this evaluation of >200 epicardial leads, lead survival was good, with steroid-eluting leads demonstrating results similar to those found with historical conventional endocardial leads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2585-2590
Number of pages6
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 29 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrocardiography
  • Pacemakers
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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