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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Journal of the American College of Cardiology Volume 55, Issue 6, February 2010, Pages 579-586. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2009.08.070. Copyright © Elsevier Inc.


Objectives: This study sought to examine the safety and efficacy of laser-assisted lead extraction and the indications, outcomes, and risk factors in a large series of consecutive patients.

Background: The need for lead extraction has been increasing in direct relationship to the increased numbers of cardiovascular implantable electronic devices.

Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing transvenous laser-assisted lead extraction at 13 centers were included.

Results: Between January 2004 and December 2007, 1,449 consecutive patients underwent laser-assisted lead extraction of 2,405 leads (20 to 270 procedures/site). Median implantation duration was 82.1 months (0.4 to 356.8 months). Leads were completely removed 96.5% of the time, with a 97.7% clinical success rate whereby clinical goals associated with the indication for lead removal were achieved. Failure to achieve clinical success was associated with body mass index <25 kg/m2 and low extraction volume centers. Procedural failure was higher in leads implanted for >10 years and when performed in low volume centers. Major adverse events in 20 patients were directly related to the procedure (1.4%) including 4 deaths (0.28%). Major adverse effects were associated with patients with a body mass index <25 kg/m2. Overall all-cause in-hospital mortality was 1.86%; 4.3% when associated with endocarditis, 7.9% when associated with endocarditis and diabetes, and 12.4% when associated with endocarditis and creatinine ≥2.0. Indicators of all-cause in-hospital mortality were pocket infections, device-related endocarditis, diabetes, and creatinine ≥2.0.

Conclusions: Lead extraction employing laser sheaths is highly successful with a low procedural complication rate. Total mortality is substantially increased with pocket infections or device-related endocarditis, particularly in the setting of diabetes, renal insufficiency, or body mass index <25 kg/m2. Centers with smaller case volumes tended to have a lower rate of successful extraction.

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