3D echocardiographic location of implantable device leads and mechanism of associated tricuspid regurgitation

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Apr;7(4):337-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2013.11.007. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Objectives: This study sought to: 1) determine the feasibility of using 3-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography (3D TTE) in patients with implantable cardiac resynchronization devices, pacemakers, and defibrillators to visualize the device leads in the right heart and their position relative to the tricuspid valve leaflets; 2) determine the prevalence of different lead positions; and 3) study the relationship between lead location and tricuspid regurgitation (TR) severity.

Background: Pacemaker, defibrillator, and cardiac resynchronization device implantation is currently guided by fluoroscopy, not allowing targeted lead positioning relative to the tricuspid valve leaflets. These leads have been reported to cause TR of variable degrees, but echocardiography is not routinely used to elucidate the mechanisms of lead interference with tricuspid valve leaflets in individual patients.

Methods: 3D TTE full-volume images of the right ventricle and/or zoomed images of the tricuspid valve were obtained in 121 patients with implanted devices. Images were viewed offline to determine the position of the device-lead relative to the tricuspid valve leaflets. Severity of TR was estimated on the basis of vena contracta measurements.

Results: 3D TTE clearly depicted lead position in 90% of patients. The right ventricular lead was impinging on either the posterior (20%) or septal (23%) leaflet or was not interfering with leaflet motion (53%) when positioned near the posteroseptal commissure or in the central portion of the tricuspid valve orifice. In the remaining patients, leads were impinging on the anterior leaflet (4%) or positioned in either the anteroposterior or anteroseptal commissure (3%). Leads interfering with normal leaflet mobility were associated with more TR than nonimpinging leads (vena contracta: median 0.62 cm [1st and 3rd quartiles: 0.51, 0.84 cm] vs. 0.27 cm [1st and 3rd quartiles: 0.00, 0.48 cm]; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: 3D TTE showed a clear association between device lead position and TR. To minimize TR induced by device-leads, 3D TTE guidance should be considered for placement in a commissural position.

Keywords: 3-dimensional echocardiography; intracardiac defibrillator; pacemaker; tricuspid regurgitation; tricuspid valve.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices / adverse effects
  • Defibrillators, Implantable / adverse effects*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Color
  • Echocardiography, Three-Dimensional*
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pacemaker, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tricuspid Valve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tricuspid Valve / physiopathology
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency / etiology
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency / physiopathology