Background: Epicardial implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) placement in infants, children, and patients with complex cardiac anatomy requires an open surgical thoracotomy and is associated with increased pain, longer length of stay, and higher cost.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare an open surgical epicardial placement approach with percutaneous pericardial placement of an ICD lead system in an infant piglet model.
Methods: Animals underwent either epicardial placement by direct suture fixation through a left thoracotomy or minimally invasive pericardial placement with thoracoscopic visualization. Initial lead testing and defibrillation threshold testing (DFT) were performed. After the 2-week survival period, repeat lead testing and DFT were performed before euthanasia.
Results: Minimally invasive placement was performed in 8 piglets and open surgical placement in 7 piglets without procedural morbidity or mortality. The mean initial DFT value was 10.5 J (range 3-28 J) in the minimally invasive group and 10.0 J (range 5-35 J) in the open surgical group (P = .90). After the survival period, the mean DFT value was 12.0 J (range 3-20 J) in the minimally invasive group and 12.3 J (range 3-35 J) in the open surgical group (P = .95). All lead and shock impedances, R-wave amplitudes, and ventricular pacing thresholds remained stable throughout the survival period.
Conclusion: Compared with open surgical epicardial ICD lead placement, minimally invasive pericardial placement demonstrates an equivalent ability to effectively defibrillate the heart and has demonstrated similar lead stability. With continued technical development and operator experience, the minimally invasive method may provide a viable alternative to epicardial ICD lead placement in infants, children, and adults at risk of sudden cardiac death.
Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Defibrillation threshold testing; Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; Minimally invasive; Pediatrics.
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