Pacemaker implantation in superior vena cava obstruction: Re-canalization, venoplasty, and stenting

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Techniques to overcome challenging venous anatomy have become an increasingly important part of modern day cardiac device implantation. Complete superior vena cava (SVC) obstruction, however, is a rare and serious clinical entity, and consequently there is limited clinical experience in addressing this pathology in the context of transvenous pacemaker implantation. We present the case of a 48-year-old renal transplant patient with sick sinus syndrome and recurrent syncope, who had an upper SVC occlusion and a failed epicardial pacing system. The SVC was re-canalized and stented using techniques derived from chronic total occlusion coronary angioplasty, thus allowing successful implantation of a transvenous pacemaker lead. This case highlights the increased risk of developing central venous occlusion that exists in renal dialysis patients, and demonstrates the benefits of utilizing transferable interventional coronary and radiology techniques to overcome this pathology and facilitate pacemaker implantation. <Learning objective: Renal dialysis patients with implantable cardiac devices are at an increased risk of developing complications that include central venous obstruction. Advanced angioplasty techniques can be used to overcome complete venous obstruction and facilitate endovascular lead implantation.>




Thomas, D. E., Phan, T. T., Hartley, R., Linker, N. J., Muir, D. F., & Turley, A. J. (2016). Pacemaker implantation in superior vena cava obstruction: Re-canalization, venoplasty, and stenting. Trials in Vaccinology, 14(1), 29–31.

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