Proper Management of Pericardial Tamponade as a Late Complication of Implantable Cardiac Device Placement

Glenn M. Polin, Erica Zado, Hemal Nayak, Joshua M. Cooper, Andrea M. Russo, Sanjay Dixit, David Lin, Francis E. Marchlinski, Ralph J. Verdino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Cardiac tamponade as a late complication of device placement is exceedingly rare, with only several case reports previously published. We sought to characterize our institution's experience with cardiac tamponade occurring >30 days after permanent pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placement. From January 2000 to June 2003, 2,535 patients received an implantable cardiac device at our institution. Four patients (0.17%) presented with cardiac tamponade >30 days after the procedure. A fifth patient who had undergone implantation at another institution but was referred to our group with tamponade was also included in the analysis. The baseline characteristics varied widely with respect to age, gender, device type, and anticoagulation status. Lead parameters were altered in 2 of 5 patients. Two patients were treated with pericardiocentesis, 1 patient had pericardiocentesis followed by lead extraction, and 2 patients required cardiac surgical intervention. Pericardial fluid culture and cytologic findings were negative in all patients. All patients had normal recovery and were well at a mean follow-up of 31 months. In conclusion, cardiac tamponade is a rare, but serious late complication of permanent pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placement. The patient characteristics and mode of presentation vary widely. Once tamponade is recognized and treated, these patients appear well at long-term follow-up, with no other device-related problems. A role for lead manipulation does not appear to exist in the standard treatment of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-225
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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