Lead Extraction Completed

Hello all

I wanted to report that I had a successful Ventricle lead extraction yesterday. Done by the famous Bruce Wilkoff at Cleveland Clinic. He said it was pretty straightforward and there were no problems. The pain after is a little more than what I felt during intitial implant. I am 51 years old and didn't want to Jam a additional lead in my vein. While there is risk with this procedure, there is also risk with leaving broken leads in place for life. Thankfully my atrium lead was fine and didn't need removal. Wilkoff has a 99% success rate and that made my decision easy. 



great news!

by Tracey_E - 2020-07-24 10:24:17

So glad it went well! 

Ventricular lead extraction

by Gemita - 2020-07-24 16:11:01

Hello Malston,

Oh that is such a relief to hear the procedure was successful.  Does that mean you only have one lead to the right atrium or they putting another ventricular lead in at some stage ?  Presumably you had a general anaesthetic.  Do you know how long the procedure took ?

I hope you continue to make good progress

Lead Extraction Complete

by malston01 - 2020-07-25 13:22:14


I have a dual lead Pacemaker. I cracked the ventricle lead but my atrium lead is still in great shape so Dr. Wilkoff left it in place and extracted the Vetricle lead and replaced with a new lead and new generator. So i should be good for many years, knock on WOOD!!!!! LOL!!!! The procedure took 3 hours ! The anticipation was worse than the actual surgery!

I had this device place in for Sick Sinus and Vasovgal Sycope 12 years ago at the age of 38, now i am 51yrs old. I am a weight lifter and Wilkoff believes that Bench Pressing heavy weight contributed to the cracked lead. As a result, my Bench Press Days are over, as I hope to never need another extraction any time soon. 

Cleveland Clinic has a 99% success rate which was comforting. 

The Doctors scare you in preparation by telling you the risk of severe procedure complications at less than .05% and they have Thoracic Surgeon in the room on standy by. But we need to all remember that the Thoracic Team is there for our protection just in case the rare event that there is a tear in the vein or heart tissue. "That rarely happens"!  The laser removal process is generally a safe procedure if done by a experienced Doctor. "Make sure to go to a high volume center for this procedure" Cleveland Clinic does hundreds per year!

Anyone needing this procedure should not allow the risk to cause overwhelming anxiety if done at a high volume center with a experienced Doctor. 

Also, Googling this procedure will scare the Hell out of you so I also recommend limiting the amount of internet information people search regarding Lead removal, It will scare you, and then the anticipation of the surgery is actually worse than the surgery itself.

I am on day 2 of the lead removal and feel great, just a little sore over pocket where generator is located. 

Thanks to all on this forum who provided postive information regarding this procedure in the weeks leading up to the event. I hope to be of help to others as you all have been for me.

God Bless you all!!!!


by Swangirl - 2020-07-26 16:06:31

I really appreciate your very detailed and complete report about your successful lead extraction.  I don't need one now but this is the kind of information that is so important to have on this site for when we do.  You are so helpful to others and will be for the future.  I applaud you!  Going to the first rate Cleveland Clinic and having such an experienced surgeon is very important to a successful outcome. 

Wow three hours !

by Gemita - 2020-07-26 17:52:54

Yes thank you so much Malston for this information.  It is invaluable.  I have copied and pasted your experience into my Pacemaker folder where I keep posts of particular interest.  I am in the UK so won't be attending the Cleveland Clinic but I have confidence in my team here.  I promise I won't google (too much) and just keep reading your positive outcome.

I hope you haven't had to give up your weight lifting completely.  Both hubby and I need to strenghthen our muscles and I hear weight lifting is very healthy for our cardiovascular health, so maybe we should try light weights.

Stay safe and well too 


by Mh85 - 2020-07-27 01:12:23

So happy all went well for you! I'm headed in next week for a lead extraction at UC San Diego. Feeling a bit nervous but reading your experience really was great! Happy healing.

Lead extraction

by mrpeabody - 2020-10-19 05:21:45

Hi. In 2011 I had an unsuccessful laser extraction due to a cracked lead. They left that one there and ran the new lead through a 'tunnel' the dr installed to get to the other clavicle.  It's coming up on my next pacer replacement, and I was wondering if laser extraction techniques have improved in the nine years since, and the might get this out.  I hope to get a MRI safe device but worry the stuck lead would prevent being MRI safe.  

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