Lead extraction

I’ve just learned my lead has failed and I need an extraction. I know it’s conolicated and carries risks. I’m wondering how you all have done. Also, getting a new placement of the new generator under the pectoral muscle and am a bit freaked by that - the recovery specifically. Any experiences would help me. Thanks! 



by Tracey_E - 2019-09-24 10:26:47

If you do a search for extraction (tiny icon in the upper right corner) there have been quite a few discussions about the surgery and recovery. It is to be taken seriously but not considered high risk anymore, especially when done by someone highly specialized. Your leads aren't that old so it should be fairly routine. Where are you in FL? We are surrounded by great cardiac care. You want someone doing it who does at least 100 per year. 

Mine is under the pectoral. We are all built differently and have different tolerances for pain, but I didn't think it was that bad. I took something for pain at night but got by during the day with ice and tylenol. I was mostly back to my schedule after the first week, though it was more like 4 months before I was doing my full routine at the gym with no residual soreness. I wasn't sore all that time, but more sensitive and I noticed it more. 


by doublehorn48 - 2019-09-24 14:50:35

I've had both.  You do want someone that's done a lot of extractions.  I was moving furniture when I had the pm placed under the pectoral.  After the swelling went down I was back on the truck.  In a lot of ways I preferred the pm under the pectoral.

I've had 5 extractions...

by FirstDuely - 2019-09-27 01:09:40

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.  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...

Pain is forgotten soon but if you get too rigorous too soon you WILL remember it.  

Gary N. in Hemet, CA


by ROBO Pop - 2019-09-27 14:50:04

I had 3 leads extracted after 10 years and skated through with no issues or delay in recovery. My lovely wife had a tooth extracted and they damn near killed her. Took her 6 weeks to recover, while I was back on the street day 2.

I may be in the minority but firmly believe that while there are certainly risks associated, they are over played by everyone. Oh and for the record, my EP graduated at the bottom of his class. I don't expect much and he delivers

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