Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator lead failure in children and young adults: A matter of lead diameter or lead design?

Christopher M. Janson, Akash R. Patel, William J. Bonney, Karen Smoots, Maully J. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objectives This study aimed to investigate the impact of lead diameter and design on implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) lead survival in children and young adults. Background Recent reports have called attention to high rates of lead failure in adults with small-diameter ICD leads, but data in the pediatric population is limited. Methods We reviewed lead performance in consecutive subjects ≤30 years with transvenous right ventricular ICD leads implanted at our center between January 1995 and October 2011. Lead failure was defined as fracture, perforation, or sensing failure necessitating revision. Results A total of 120 ICD leads were implanted in 101 patients at a mean age of 15.5 ± 4.9 years. There were 47 small-diameter (≤8-F) and 73 standard-diameter (>8-F) leads. During a median follow-up of 28.7 months (interquartile range: 14.4 to 59.2 months), there were 25 lead failures (21% prevalence), with an incidence of 5.6%/year (95% confidence interval: 3.4 to 7.8). Sprint Fidelis (SF) (Medtronic, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota) leads had lower 3-year (69% vs. 92%, p < 0.01) and 5-year (44% vs. 86%, p < 0.01) survival probabilities than standard-diameter leads. In multivariate Cox regression, SF design conferred the greatest hazard ratio for lead failure (hazard ratio: 4.42, 95% confidence interval: 1.73 to 11.29, p < 0.01). Age and linear growth were not significantly associated with lead failure. Conclusions In this single-center pediatric study that evaluated lead diameter, lead design, and patient factors, the SF design conferred the highest risk of lead failure, suggesting that design rather than diameter is the critical issue in ICD lead performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • ICD
  • Sprint Fidelis
  • lead failure
  • pediatrics
  • small-caliber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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