This study describes the placement of a newly designed implantable cardioverter defibrillator in a subpectoral device pocket using the incision for venous access in 16 patients undergoing implantation of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator with a nonthoracotomy lead system. The endocardial lead system consisted of a right atrial/superior vena cava defibrillation spring electrode and a right ventricular bipolar sensing/defibrillation electrode, inserted by cephalic venotomy or by puncturing of the subclavian vein. As a result of intraoperative testing using biphasic shocks the defibrillation threshold (DFT) had to be less than 24 J, otherwise an additional subcutaneous patch electrode was placed in the lateral chest wall near the cardiac apex through another incision. All patients received a nonthoracotomy lead system in combination with a subpectoral device placement. In 11 of 16 patients the endocardial leads alone were sufficient (DFT, 13.4 +/- 7.0 J), 5 of 16 patients (31%) required an additional subcutaneous patch electrode to achieve proper device function (DFT, 14.6 +/- 9.0 J). The operation lasted 93 +/- 20 minutes. This was a significant (p < 0.05) lower time consumption than standard nonthoracotomy approach combined with abdominal device placement (120 +/- 50 minutes). There were no postoperative complications. During follow-up period (average, 4 months), none of the patients reported major local symptoms, especially no device migration occurred. This approach, in contrast to an abdominal device placement, avoids another incision and subcutaneous tunneling of leads. In 11 of 16 patients defibrillator implantation by a single incision in the deltoideopectoral groove was possible.