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New Wiring Adds Risk When Replacing Pacemaker

Complications most likely when new lead is needed in heart devices, researchers find

SUNDAY, Nov. 15, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing or adding wiring increases the risk of major complications for patients having surgery to replace a pacemaker or other heart rhythm-stabilizing device, a new study finds.

U.S. researchers analyzed complication rates among patients enrolled in the REPLACE prospective multicenter registry who underwent replacement of a pacemaker, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), or cardiac resynchronization (CRT) generator. One group of patients required no new wiring while the other group did.

Major complications occurred in 15.3 percent of the 713 patients who needed wiring. The highest rate of major complications occurred in patients whose replacement procedure required a lead to connect a CRT generator to the left ventricle. Minor complications occurred in 7.6 percent of the wiring patients, said the University of Washington, Seattle researchers.

The average age of the patients needing wiring was 69.5 years at the time of enrollment. Of that group, 75.9 percent were male, 40.1 percent had previously suffered a heart attack, 30.4 percent had diabetes, and 55.7 percent had serious congestive heart failure.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's meeting in Orlando, Fla.

More information

The Heart Rhythm Society has more about treatments for heart rhythm disorders.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 15, 2009
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