Removal of a lead that connects a pacemaker to your heart
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
A pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device that delivers electrical impulses to your heart through a special wire called a lead. A lead may need to be removed for several reasons, including:
- Damage to the lead
- Formation of a large amount of scar tissue at the tip of the lead
- Recall by the manufacturer
The experts in our Electrophysiology Program work closely with cardiac surgeons to safely extract cardiac device leads.
What to expect when a lead is extracted
Your doctor may ask you to not eat or drink before the procedure. Ask your doctor about any medications you are currently taking and whether you should take them the day of the surgery. You will be placed under general anesthesia and remain unconscious during the extraction.
Your doctor will make a small incision in the upper chest or the groin to access a vein. A small tube called a sheath is inserted into the blood vessel and guided to the lead using X-ray images. The sheath is threaded over the lead, and a laser or small drill is used to detach the lead from the heart tissue. The lead and sheath are then removed.
You will be moved to a recovery area to be monitored overnight. You will likely be able to go home the day after the procedure, but you will need someone to drive you.
We are leaders in developing and using the latest procedures and technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders, and our cardiac electrophysiology laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in North America.
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