2 lead extractions

I have 2 leads which dont work any more and need to be replaced but got told can be risky due to being in for a long time say over 11 years due to fat etc how risky is it and how risky is it putting new ones in and sucess rate


not so bad

by Tracey_E - 2020-06-16 10:04:24

If you do a search for extraction, it comes up fairly often. I wouldn't consider 11 years that long. I've got one working lead more than twice that age, and we have other members with older. Age at extraction is all over the place but off the top of my head I'd say 11 years is the very low end of average. The amount of scar tissue, the placement of the leads, the condition of our heart, previous heart procedures all affect our risk level.

I haven't had it done yet but I know it's in my future so I've already done the research. The key is to find a specialist, even if that means traveling. Once upon a time, yes, it was considered risky. The lasers they use to extract have improved, and the number of experienced surgeons has gone way up since then. You'll want to find someone who does 100+ per year.  It's still considered serious but not particularly risky  when done by an expert.

You can ask about their success rate in addition to how many procedures they do. My ep heads an adult congenital clinic in a large research hospital so does a lot of extractions. That's actually a good part of why I chose him (and travel to get to him), he sees patients like me all day long instead of once in a blue moon. In the entire time his team has been doing extraction, they've had 4 procedures result in open heart (they keep a cardiothoric team on standby in case something goes wrong), and all 4 patients made a complete recovery. That's out of hundreds of surgeries he's had 4 serious complications, 100% success rate. 

There is no more risk putting new ones in than any other new placement. Newer leads are thinner and tougher than what you have so you'll be upgrading. 

Good luck! I know this is scary. For me, doing all the research and having a long conversation with my ep put me at ease. It's still intimidating but not knowing is worse and I can accept what I can understand. Write down your questions, don't know about you but I always get amnesia when they ask if I have more questions. I smile and nod then get in the car and think of all the things I wanted to ask. So now I write it down. And it's ok to ask your doctor to refer you to someone else, this isn't something you want just anyone doing. 

Getting ready too

by Tinkergirl - 2020-06-16 22:06:02

I am having mine extracted next week, also 2 leads. I have had mine a little over 5 years. I am very nervous too!!

Getting ready too

by Mh85 - 2020-06-29 00:54:19


my leads have been in 15 years and am scheduled for both lead to be replaced with a new device on Aug 3rd. I'm a bit nervous feel confident in my surgeon. I would agree with Tracy_E find a specialist even if it means a bit of a distance. I live in A-Z and will be going to CA for the surgery. I've spent the last 45days seeing EPs and fighting with my insurance but finally feel at ease with my Dr. now just have to wait for surgery day. Best of luck!

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