Faulty pacemaker Lead

I have had my pacemaker since 28 January 2008.  I have been told one of my leads is faulty.  Five weeks ago My bp was put down to 40.  My appointment this week. when testing my pacemaker they gave me  two shocks ie they paced my heart which gave me chest pain.  I was told to come back in three months unless I get this pain again.  They don’t want to do anything yet as up to two years of battery Left.  They told me they would leave the faulty lead in situ and put a new one in beside it Should I be worried?


Faulty lead

by AgentX86 - 2019-09-01 19:28:47

Leaving the defective lead in place and inserting a new one is the norm.  Removing leads is tricky stuff and not to be done unless absolutely necessary.  However, if I'm understanding you correctly, they don't want to do snything for you, at all, because you have two years left on your battery?  That's just nuts! Blame your NHS for that one.  I'd never put up with that here. I'd be dead, so I guess one way or another I wouldn't out up with it.

I've been hearing more and more, lately, about the delay in getting help for Afib and the rationing of ablations and of EP services, in general. No thanks.

Faulty lead

by Tessy - 2019-09-01 19:53:25

Thanks for your reply Agent86.  I will take on board what you’ve said.  I will phone hospital this week and tell them of my cincers

Concern. !

by Tessy - 2019-09-01 19:56:54

Sorry spelling mistakešŸ˜³

malfunctioning lead

by sheilaw - 2019-09-02 03:38:53

Had faulty lead after 1 year.  Replaced immediately.....

All is good now.

Faulty lead

by Tessy - 2019-09-02 04:01:38

Thanks for your response Sheilaw . From what I understand a faulty lead can be replaced with no problem in the first couple of years.  After that fibrous tissue grows around the lead which makes it difficult to remove.  My worry is that I was not referred to a doctor or cardiologist .   I was told to come back if I feel any pain. 

I've been there

by Tracey_E - 2019-09-03 17:42:58

I also had a faulty lead. It still worked but they had to program around it so it used up a lot more juice (think window open with the AC running, the house cools but the power bill goes up) so it used up the battery faster than expected. As long as it's working,there's no rush to replace it until the box needs replaced also. I also had room in the vein, so they capped off the old one, added the new one. That was 10 years ago. My other original lead is still going strong. 

Some doctors prefer to extract and start fresh rather than add a new lead. If the leads aren't that old, it may be the better way to go. I was given the choice. My leads are very old, from 1994, so extraction would be complicated for me, and my hope is that if I can keep these leads for a while longer that my next set will be my last and that by waiting technology will get better and my risk during extraction will be lower. I'm 52 now. 

It sounds like you have about two years to research extraction so you can have an informed discussion with your doctor about the best way to proceed. My one doctor was leaning toward extraction but when I told him my reasons for waiting, he agreed with me. I changed ep's since then and my new one said that absolutely waiting was best. Ask 5 doctors, get 5 answers, so it pays to do your homework. 

FAULTY LEAD - (Ive been there)

by Tessy - 2019-09-06 06:39:01

Thank you Tracey-E for your response.  Lot of food for thought.  I was concerned that my BPM have been put down to 40 from 60,  but I seem to be functioning ok.  Having two leads in one vein also troubled me.  You have had yours for 10 years so it obviously is fine to do that.  I am older than you so I think extraction after nearly 11 years would be risky.   I am been checked every three months now instead of annually, plus Harefield Hospital is just two miles away if I have any problems.  I need to relax.


Thanks for your reassuring reply.

extraction risk

by Tracey_E - 2019-09-11 09:41:15

Extraction for me isn't risky because of my age, it's risky because of the age of my leads, their placement, and the scar tissue around them. Eleven year old leads isn't old at all, as far as leads go. Lead extraction is highly specialized and to be taken seriously, but it's not generally considered risky anymore. Just make sure the person doing it is highly specialized, preferably doing 100+ per year.

Some people can fit 4, maybe even 5 leads in the vein. Older leads are bigger than newer ones and our veins vary. When we were deciding what to do with mine, they did a venogram, an iv with dye in the cath lab, so the ep could see exactly how much room I had. 

If it's still pacing and they are checking more often, it may be like mine was with ruptured insulation. It worked right up until the day it was replaced, but they had to keep adjusting the settings so it was getting the signal through. If they thought you were at risk of it not pacing, you'd be scheduled for surgery by now. 

Extractions because of lead cracking

by FirstDuely - 2019-09-27 02:00:01

I have had 5 leads extracted since 2001 by one of only six lead extraction "pioneers" at that time who started doing the procedure.  I never wanted to have multiple leads in my veins and running through heart valves.  Dr. Isaeff at Loma Linda Medical Hospital Heart Unit, my "adjuster" God, sent me to Dr. Schaerf.

I've had all five done at Providence / St. Josephs Medical in Burbank, CA by one of the best in the country to begin doing these extractions: Dr. Raymond Schaerf.  I believe you can get info online.  He now also teaches the procedure he pioneered to heart specialists around the country.  He's an awesome person, witty, and did I say, "really good"?

His office (also recommended for sainthood) would be able to give you a referral I would guess.  

Quick History of my leads:  2001 had to have pacer moved from left to right side with new leads.  Dr. Schaerf was  doing these, said it took 6.5 hours to accomplish.  But I am here.

Recovery was a bit longer than usual but I did get back to work within a week.

About 2009 was experiencing slowing.  One lead was extracted with new pacer implanted because it had cracked. Maybe because of falling off my bike?

Last year pacer was replaced with low battery.  Discovered another cracked lead and extracted both and replaced with MRI safe pacer AND both leads are MRI safe!!  Thicker material so they go through heart valve creating a bigger gap.  But they are an improvement over the previous single layer of insulation material (whatever that was).

Recovery: not really a problem other than you want to wait a good 3 - 4 weeks to do much lifting, although I went on a trip last time 3 weeks after, lifted baggage various hotels, popped stitches and had to go back to have pacer implanted under the muscles.  Pain is not nice but it is not bad.  You will have some so try to go slowly first day or so but you could be fine soon enough.  Follow all nurse and doctor instructions to the letter and be sure someone (spouse) is also listening because I always forget or am not really listening that well (I'm 69 years now and had my first when I was 36 and now I'm on #10). But I'm still here...

I had the first dual chamber pacemaker implanted in the world so I have many stories I could tell.  But I'm still here...

Gary N. in Hemet, CA

You know you're wired when...

Ā“Batteries not includedĀ” takes on a new meaning.

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