Author + information
- Received November 3, 1986
- Revision received February 4, 1987
- Accepted March 2, 1987
- Published online August 1, 1987.
- Igor Singer, MBBS, FRACP1,
- Grover M. Hutchins, MD1,
- M. Mirowski, MD, FACC1,
- Morton M. Mower, MD, FACC1,
- Enrico P. Veltri, MD1,
- Thomas Guarnieri, MD, FACC*,1,
- Juan Juanteguy, MD, FACS1,
- Sara Fisher, BS1,
- Philip R. Reid, MD, FACC1 and
- Myron L. Weisfeldt, MD, FACC1
- ↵*Address for reprints: Thomas Guarnieri, MD, Johns Hopkins Hospital/Carn 530, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.
The purpose of the present study was to examine at autopsy the effect of multiple defibrillations on the myocardium and the pathologic consequences of short- and long-term placement of the intravascular and interpericardial leads of the automatic implantable cardioverterdefibrillator. Twenty-five patients were examined at autopsy; 8 of them underwent lead implantation only and 17 received both leads and the automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. Twelve patients (48%) died of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation; seven (28%) died of other causes.
Acute pericarditis occurred in all patients, resulting in a localized, progressive fibrosis around the apical patch lead without giving rise to pericardial restriction. Thrombus formation was associated with the superior vena cava spring electrode in four patients (17%) and the right ventricular rate-sensing electrode in one patient (4%). Asymptomatic pulmonary emboli occurred in two patients (8%). In one patient who underwent defibril- lation 59 times, superior vena cava changes consisted of vein wall destruction, fibrosis and thrombus formation.
Pathologic changes under the apical patch related to defibrillation were observed in seven patients; two of these had fewer than 5 defibrillations, one had 8 defibrillations and four had 21 to 74 defibrillations. These changes consisted of contraction band necrosis in four patients, vacuolar cytoplasmic clearing and loss of myocytes confined to the myocardium under the patch electrode in five patients who had multiple defibrillations. The observed pathologic changes were estimated to affect <2% of the total myocardial mass. Thus, the automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator lead system and multiple defibrillations result in localized myocardial injury confined to the tissue under the patch electrode. Superior vena cava lead-associated thrombosis may occur as with other long-term implanted transvenous catheters.
- Received November 3, 1986.
- Revision received February 4, 1987.
- Accepted March 2, 1987.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation