Incidence, predictors, and outcomes associated with pneumothorax during cardiac electronic device implantation: A 16-year review in over 3.7 million patients

Heart Rhythm. 2017 Dec;14(12):1764-1770. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.07.024. Epub 2017 Jul 21.


Background: Pneumothorax (PTX) is a potential complication of vascular access during cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) procedures and is being scrutinized as a health care-acquired condition.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the trends in PTX incidence in the United Stated over a 16-year period and to determine whether PTX is associated with increased mortality after adjustment for other factors.

Methods: Using weighted sampling in the largest inpatient health database in the United States (National Inpatient Sample), we evaluated data from patients with a primary procedure of CIED implantation from 1998 to 2013 who had at least 1 new vascular access (new or upgrade of prior CIED). The unadjusted and adjusted associations of PTX with mortality and other parameters were examined.

Results: Among 3,764,703 CIED procedures, PTX occurred in 47,839 cases (1.3%). The apparent incidence of PTX peaked at 1.6% in 2012 and 2013, although this result may have been affected by a concomitant decrease of inpatient (vs outpatient) CIED. PTX was significantly associated with pulmonary complications, chest tube insertion, length of stay, and costs. Mortality was statistically higher in patients with PTX (1.2% vs 0.7%; P <.001), a relationship that remained significant in a multivariate logistic regression analysis (odds ratio 1.50, 95% confidence interval 1.36-1.65; P <.001). Age >80 years, female gender, Caucasian race, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and dual-chamber (vs single-chamber) device were all associated with higher odds for PTX occurrence. Placement of a chest tube was a major determinant of worse outcomes and higher costs.

Conclusion: PTX remains an important complication of CIED procedures and is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and costs.

Keywords: Cardiac resynchronization therapy; Chest tube; Complications; Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; Length of stay; Mortality; Outcomes; Pacemaker; Pneumothorax.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Defibrillators, Implantable / adverse effects*
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forecasting*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pacemaker, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • Pneumothorax / epidemiology*
  • Pneumothorax / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult