Ultrasound-guided axillary venous access for pediatric and adult congenital lead implantation

Bradley C. Clark, Christopher M. Janson, Lynn Nappo, Robert H. Pass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Axillary venous access with ultrasound guidance for pediatric transvenous lead implantation may reduce risks for pneumothorax and hemothorax. The objective was to retrospectively evaluate ultrasound-guided axillary vein access as an alternative to the subclavian approach. Methods: The technique consists of ultrasonographic identification of the axillary vein at the deltopectoral groove after initial contrast venography. A micropuncture kit is used for initial ultrasound-guided percutaneous access with fluoroscopic confirmation of wire position. Pocket creation is performed, and sheath insertion and lead implantation proceed as usual. Demographic, procedural, and radiation exposure data were collected and analyzed. Results: Sixteen patients (median age = 13 years, 8-50 years; median weight = 56 kg, 29-77 kg) underwent lead implantation; two additional patients required fluoroscopy due to poor acoustic windows (89% success). Fifteen of 21 leads (71%) were ventricular; 50% of implants were pacemakers, and 31% were dual chamber. Median time to venous access was 13 min (interquartile range (IQR) = 9.25-20.25) and median implant procedure time was 156 min (IQR = 112-172). Median fluoroscopy time was 18.0 min (IQR = 11.9-29.6), median air kerma was 9.0 mGy (IQR = 3.0-28.5), and median dose-area product was 30.2 Gy-cm2 (IQR = 16.1-234.5). One patient required generator pocket revision 2 days postprocedure without lead dislodgement. There were no other complications encountered. Conclusions: Transvenous pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator lead implantation in the pediatric and adult congenital population through ultrasound-guided axillary venous access is safe and efficacious. This technique may provide a low-risk alternative for vascular access for pediatric implantation procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-170
Number of pages5
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • axillary venous access
  • cardiac implantable electronic device
  • congenital heart disease
  • pediatrics
  • radiation
  • ultrasound-guidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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