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Pacemaker / defibrillator lead extraction

For people with a pacemaker or defibrillator

Removing the lead or leads of a defibrillator or pacemaker

About lead extraction

You may need to have the lead to your pacemaker or defibrillator removed for one of the following reasons:
  • Infection of the pacemaker or defibrillator. This includes a high temperature and pain, swelling and redness at the site of the pacemaker.
  • Erosion of the pacemaker through the skin.

Need to know

  • What happens during a pacemaker lead extraction? icon plus

    Lead extraction is a complex procedure requiring specialist expertise and equipment and is not without risk. It may need a general anaesthetic.

    Many parts of the procedure are similar to the implant but the lead(s) to be extracted need to be freed from attachment to the veins on the way to the heart and from the heart itself.
  • How to prepare for the procedure icon plus

    You'll usually be told when to stop eating or drinking prior to the procedure. Before surgery a small plastic tube is inserted into your arm, in case you need any medicines during the operation. You'll be asked to lie on an x-ray table, and your heart rhythm is monitored using an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine.

    Vital signs such as blood pressure and blood oxygen levels are also monitored. An anaesthetist will administer either a general or local anaesthetic, depending on which you are having.
  • After your procedure icon plus

    After surgery, the catheter will be removed. If there is a small amount of bleeding, the nurse or doctor will press on the cut until it stops. They may insert a plug called an angioseal. You might be asked to stay lying down for a few hours afterwards, but can usually go home the same or the following day.
Consultant in theatres

Our cardiologists

We're proud to work with leading heart rhythm experts, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our cardiac locations

From complex cardiothoracic surgery to straightforward cardiology tests and procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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