Complications of Pacemaker Implantation

Approximately 180000 patients undergo pacemaker implantation in the U.S each year [1]. In addition, the extreme elderly are the most rapidly growing segment of the U.S. [2,3] and pacemakers are commonly implanted in this population. There are reports of pacemaker implant complications (generally clinical trials reporting outcomes and incident complication rates) and fewer reports of complication rates in the extreme elderly (with a persistent exclusion of elderly patients from ongoing clinical trials [4]). A comprehensive review of pacemaker implant complications can help improve informed consent in preoperative patients. Major and minor complications are defined based upon prior reports of device-related complications. [5,6,7,8] Major complications have been defined as death, cardiac arrest, cardiac perforation, cardiac valve injury, coronary venous dissection, hemothorax, pneumothorax, transient ischemic attack, stroke, myocardial infarction, pericardial tamponade, and arterial-venous fistula. Minor complications have been defined as drug reaction, conduction block, hematoma or lead dislodgement requiring reoperation, peripheral embolus, phlebitis, peripheral nerve injury, and device-related infection. This chapter will include discussion of common and uncommon complications of pacemaker implantation including associated incidence as well as the associated radiographs and common clinical signs of these complications.
Complications of Pacemaker Implantation

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