Delayed Cardiac Perforation by Defibrillator Lead Placed in the Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Resulting in Massive Pericardial Effusion

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A 76-year-old man received a dual-chamber implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), with the defibrillator lead positioned within the right ventricular outflow tract. The lead parameters at the time of implantation were satisfactory and the postprocedure chest X-ray showed the leads were in place. The patient was cardioverted from atrial fibrillation during defibrillation threshold testing and commenced on anticoagulation immediately. One month post implantation, he experienced multiple ventricular tachycardia episodes all successfully treated with antitachycardia pacing and shocks by his ICD, but he fell and hit his chest against a hard surface during one of these attacks. He developed a massive pericardial effusion and computed tomography confirmed cardiac perforation by the defibrillator lead. Pericardiocentesis was performed and the defibrillator lead replaced with a different model positioned at the right ventricular apex. The patient made an uneventful recovery. The management and avoidance of delayed cardiac perforation by transvenous leads were discussed.

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