Outcomes and Complications Associated With Epicardial Pacemakers in 28 Dogs and 5 Cats

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ObjectiveTo report signalment, history, indications, complications and outcome for 28 dogs and 5 cats in which 34 permanent epicardial pacing leads were surgically placed by transdiaphragmatic approach (32) or intercostal thoracotomy (2).MethodsMedical records (2005–2010) were reviewed. Signalment, age, species, gender, clinical signs, presence of structural heart disease and/or congestive heart failure, ECG diagnosis, body weight (<10 or >10 kg), and overall survival rate were recorded. Statistical correlations were made between these variables and major and minor complications rates.ResultsExcept for body weight, no statistical differences were identified in prevalence of major (life threatening or requiring replacement of the pacemaker system) or minor (self-limiting) complications; dogs weighing >10 kg had significantly more major complications (P = .03). There was a trend (P = .051) for lower survival in animals that had major complications.ConclusionsLarger dogs (>10 kg) may be predisposed to more major complications with epicardial pacemaker (EP) implantation. Major complication rate and survival time are similar to those reported for transvenous pacing and therefore implantation of EPs remains a suitable alternative.

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