Retained cardiac implantable electronic device fragments are not associated with magnetic resonance imaging safety issues, morbidity, or mortality after orthotopic heart transplant

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Abstract

Background

Cardiac implantable electronic device therapy (CIED) has revolutionized treatment for advanced heart failure. Most patients considered for orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) are treated with implantable cardioverter defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization therapy, or both. These CIEDs are surgically extracted at the time of transplant. Occasionally, CIEDs are incompletely removed. Little is known about the outcomes of post-OHT patients with retained CIED fragments.

Methods

We identified 200 consecutive patients that underwent OHT at our institution between April 2006 and December 2014 and performed a retrospective analysis of available radiographic images and clinical records. Chest radiographs prior to and following OHT were reviewed for the presence of CIED or retained CIED fragments. The outcomes of patients with retained CIED fragments that had subsequent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies performed were further investigated.

Results

One hundred eighty of 200 patients were identified as having CIED prior to OHT, of which 29 had retained CIED fragments after OHT. Most retained CIED fragments originated from superior vena cava defibrillator coils. There were no adverse events in the retained CIED fragment cohort, and survival was unaffected. Ten patients with retained CIED fragments safely underwent a total of 28 MRIs after OHT, all of diagnostic quality.

Conclusion

Retained CIED fragments are not associated with adverse events or increased mortality after OHT. Diagnostic MRI has been safely performed in patients with retained CIED fragments after incomplete device extraction. Retrieval of these fragments prior to MRI does not appear warranted given the demonstrated safety and preserved image quality in this population.

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