atrial lead not working

'Just returned from my pacemaker clinic. I mentioned to the technition that I was feeling terribly fatigued, and perhaps she'd find the answer to my problem. She soon replied that the atrial lead to my bi- lead pacemaker, (the lead that did the work of pacing my heart when it needed it), is not functioning at all. It will need to be replaced. My question is: I live in a small town. The general surgeon can perform this type of surgery. However, I have no idea how serious this surgery is. Another possibility is to drive 8 hours to Mayo Clinic where I had both pacemakers implanted. Is replacing a lead "a big deal" surgically?"
I look forward to your feedback!


just my opinion...

by bambi - 2008-02-05 04:02:18

but if you are having the non functioning lead extracted, you really should consider the drive to Mayo Clinic. Extracting leads should be done by a specialist. Regardless though, if you have the option, why not go to the Mayo Clinic anyway? I think it would be worth the drive if it's your health we're talking about! I've had both my leads extracted and replaced, and I would have been very concerned if a general surgeon did it!
Best wishes,

I agree with Bambi

by CathrynB - 2008-02-05 05:02:56

Replacement of a lead is more risky than the original PM implant, but the most important thing is that you have an experienced person perform the surgery. Ask your General Surgeon how many electrical leads he has replaced - I'd be very surprised if it's a high number. My General Surgeon said she would never do a PM implant, much less a lead replacement, because it is such a specialty. If it were me, and it meant only an 8-hour drive, I'd definitely go to Mayo Clinic. Unless there's another large city closer by where someone with lots of experience can do it. Best wishes and let us know how things go. I'm sure you'll be just fine, as many others on this website who have also had leads replaced. Take care, CathrynB


by thomast - 2008-02-05 06:02:31

I have good general surgeon, but I would never consider letting him do any pacemaker or lead replacment. I say go to Mayo and let a specilist do it.

Make the drive

by boatman50 - 2008-02-05 10:02:44

Its in your own best interest to make the drive. yes it may be a little out of the way but after all, aren't you worth it? Seriously you want to have someone that does this all the time and has emergency equipment available for any need that mat arise. My initial installation was done in my hometown hospital by a general surgeon. 2 days later I was in an ambulance to NYC because he put one of the leads thru my heart! I would rather drive the 8 hours to get it done right then take a chance and have to go 8 hours in an ambulance to get it fixed. Just my opinion and best of luck with whatever you decide.

In agreement....

by auntiesamm - 2008-02-06 03:02:29

Looks like we are all in agreement - go to Mayo and get the lead replaced. It's too important to not have the very best doing it. Here in Southern CA I don't know that a General Surgeon would even have privileges in any of the hospitals to implant pacemakers much less do lead replacements. With what you have at stake it is well worth the 8 hour drive! Good luck and God bless you.


Lead change

by Labrador-boy - 2008-03-06 02:03:26

Hi, I was told today I need one of my leads changed because it's not working, it's going to be done in 4 to 8 weeks time. Have you had your leads done yet, and did they leave the old one in because the doctor said that what happens?



Get a super specialist!

by Swedeheart - 2008-03-21 05:03:28

Lead replacement is tricky. Find the best doctor you can to do it! Ask the doctor about how many they replace per year and their success rate. It is all about you getting the best care. Don't scrimp on this one!

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I had a pacemaker when I was 11. I never once thought I wasn't a 'normal kid' nor was I ever treated differently because of it. I could do everything all my friends were doing; I just happened to have a battery attached to my heart to help it work.