Clinical research
Heart perforation in patients with permanent cardiac pacing – pilot personal observations
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Submission date: 2010-11-15
Final revision date: 2011-02-21
Acceptance date: 2011-02-24
Online publication date: 2012-02-29
Publication date: 2012-03-01
Arch Med Sci 2012;8(1):70–74
Introduction: Heart perforation is a rare complication of pacemaker (PM)/implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation.
Material and methods: In our clinic in 2005-2010, 6 patients with heart perforation were hospitalized (3 women, 3 men), mean age 58.6 ±20.8 years (17 to 73 years). The indication to PM/ICD implantation was tachy-brady syndrome in 3 cases, second-degree atrioventricular block, advanced with losses of consciousness, vaso-vagal syndrome type II B with asystole lasting 12 s and recurrent non-sustained ventricular tachycardia in 1 patient. We analyzed patient’s medical records, X-rays, echocardiography, computed tomography (CT) and procedure protocols.
Results: The incidence of heart perforation was 0.09%. Symptoms developed 4 to 990 days (mean 186.3 ±394.3) after PM/ICD implantation. The perforation site was found in the right atrial wall in 1 cases and the right ventricular wall in 6 cases. The TTE revealed an accumulation of fluid in the pericardium over 10 mm behind the posterior wall of the left ventricle in all patients. The CT scan confirmed perforation of the heart chambers (atrium and in 6 cases ventricle). In 5 cases the whole device was removed by direct traction or percutaneous lead extraction with pericardiocentesis when necessary (pericardium drainage in 3 cases) while in 1 case cardiac surgery was needed.
Conclusions : The perforating lead may be removed by direct traction in the operating room with cardiosurgical, anesthesiological and echocardiographical backup. In case of the lead perforation outside the pericardial sac or its atypical location, cardiac surgery is a safer method. The most important diagnostic method remains computed tomography.