Smitty's Leads

From time to time we see questions about how pacemaker leads are held in place. I have seen answers that range from logical to "you have got to be kidding." In the Members Gallery have tried to post a picture of my leads that was made during the implant of a couple of stents. On what I think may be the ventricle lead you can plainly see a corkscrew like tip that I understand was literally screwed into the wall of my heart to keep the lead in place. If the picture is no posted, I'll try again later.

Since that lead had been in place for almost 8 years when this photo was made they may have improvements on how the keep them in place. I don't know about you but in the future when someone says their PM leads were screwed into the wall of their heart I'll be able to visualize how the tip of tht lead probably looks.

As for the three wire loops that look as if they were made from piecof coat hanger pieces, those are the wire loops used to hold my sternum together after bypass surgery in 1982. The surgeon operation report just describes them as loop may of heavy wire. I think the wire is about 1.0 mm in diameter.



by turboz24 - 2008-02-20 01:02:24

I was actually told that my lead comes out below my collar bone, under the skin to my ICD, then loops under the ICD, then connects to the ICD. They leave the loop there for slack. I would also assume it's there so they don't have to alter the length of the lead.


by tcrabtree85 - 2008-02-20 01:02:26

Thanks Tman for fixing the gallery.

Smitty, Thanks for posting that picture it is really fascinating to see how all the things come together. When I was at Mayo they showed me how mine was and it is also a corkscrew looking. I can honestly thank the people that have all the talent to understand how all of that stays together God has blessed them with a gift.
Take care!


Where is it?

by axg9504 - 2008-02-20 01:02:40

How do you find it Smitty? Anyway I have a question. Most x-ray pics I have seen, (and I wish I had taken the time to examine mine, hopefully that will be remedied when I go back for the checkup), show the leads doing a loop around the PM before they make their exit via the vein. Or at least it looks like that. Does yours? If so I would guess this is to avoid tension on the leads at the juncture of the vein ?


by SMITTY - 2008-02-20 01:02:52

Thanks Tman. I just figured I was doing something wrong. I know now not to use apostrophes in the titles. Also, I'm very impressed with the detail that shows. I was afraid it would be unreadable.


by Yorker - 2008-02-20 01:02:57

I was told that mine had "little prongs" that hooked into the wall of the heart - if they're anywhere near the size of that corkscrew, I now know why I felt enough pain in my chest to start to come up from the anesthesia during the implant! WOW!


Great photo

by admin - 2008-02-20 09:02:03


Thanks for sharing your photo. Modern medicine amazes me.


Corkscrew thingy

by VonnieVern - 2008-02-20 09:02:26

I guess it may be a good thing I didn't go home from the hospital and get on the computer before having my pacemaker implanted. Seeing something like that first might have had me saying, "I'll take my chances without the pacemaker!"



by MHCHAMPION - 2008-02-20 11:02:04

I'm still a newbie here and am wondering if there is a way to get to this picture of your leads which is probably at the end of the picture gallery without having to click through all the other pictures? I am anxious to see it.

Two types

by heckboy - 2008-02-20 11:02:25

I was told by my surgeon that there are two types of tips leads. The screw tip is one and the other has prongs on the end that attach to the wall of the heart. The screw may be more secure, but may also be harder to remove. The other may be more delicate, but after enough scar tissue builds over it, it will be secure too and does not penetrate the heart wall to any great degree, relatively speaking.

Problem with image

by tman - 2008-02-20 12:02:33

I fixed the image in the gallery. For some reason the apostrophe caused grief.

Fish Hook

by ElectricFrank - 2008-02-21 01:02:13

The "prong type" was described to me as being sort of like a fish hook with barbs. Either type does about the same amount of damage if they need to be removed. Any of you fishermen will know what it does to a fishes mouth when you pull out a barbed fish hook!!
Mine are the screw in type, but they are no better. After scarring in they can't be unscrewed, just pulled out. I'm hoping my leads are still in good shape when I need the pacer replaced!!


by Rewiredaussiegirl - 2008-02-21 08:02:24

Wow Smitty!!
That looks like either one of my badly drawn roadmaps or my garden hose all twisted up!!
Jokes aside isnt it amazing what they can put inside us to keep us going?Thank God for modern technology!!!



by SMITTY - 2008-02-21 12:02:05

No, No Vonnie, that's the wrong way to think of it. It just goes to show how much junk we can have in our body, especially in our heart, to help keep up walking and talking. The amazing thing to me is I can feel none of it.

I truly hope I have not upset anyone with that picture. If I have I'll be glad to ask Blake to remove it. I just found it interesting and being more than just a little goofy I guess, I thought others would see it as interesting.


Please don't have the picture removed

by VonnieVern - 2008-02-22 05:02:53

I was half joking when I made that comment. Truly, it was a little scary looking to me, but it helped me understand how the leads actually attach to the heart. I'm the kind of person who normally wants to see everything I possibly can before, during, and after any medical procedure. The pacemaker surgery was the first one I've had where I didn't have the chance to look up all kinds of information about it first, and I think that's the way this one was supposed to be for me. I had as much info as I needed at the time, and not enough time to obsess over it first - so I guess I'm doing that now!


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