Early malfunction of transvenous pacemaker electrodes. A three-centre study

V. Parsonnet, M. Bilitch, S. Furman, J. D. Fisher, D. J. Escher, G. Myers, E. Cassady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A 3-year study by three medical centers has revealed a 1-year electrode malfunction rate of 7.4%; most malfunctions occurred within the first 30 days. The incidence of unavoidable early malfunction (3.2%) fell within the 5% standards suggested by the committee report of the Inter-Society Committee on Heart Diseases. Incidences of obscure cause (3.2%) may be difficult to identify prospectively and may be, to a certain extent, unavoidable. The majority of the malfunctions (4.2%) showed specific clues that indicated that they were preventable. Successful repositioning was achieved on the first attempt in 80.6% of the cases with malfunction, and only 0.7% required ultimate myocardial electrode implantation. The principal clues to potentially unsatisfactory positioning included the presence of a large right ventricle with or without tricuspid insufficiency, current thresholds greater than 0.5 mA and ST-segment deviations on the intracardiac electrogram of less than 2 mV. Electrode malfunction may be more common with bipolar than with unipolar electrodes; but significant differences in the incidence of malfunction among different unipolar electrodes were observed. These data indicate that further developments in transvenous electrode design are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-596
Number of pages7
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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