Results of Epicardial Pacing by the Left Subcostal Approach

Gerald M. Lawrie, J. Paul Seale, George C. Morris, Jimmy F. Howell, Hartwell H. Whisennand, Michael E. DeBakey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We have determined the clinical course of 200 consecutive patients (mean age, 67.5 years) in whom epicardial pacing was established by the left subcostal route by insertion of 2 sutureless myocardial electrodes and a demand bipolar generator. There was 1 intraoperative death (0.5%). The overall 30-day perioperative mortality was 4 of 200 patients (2.0%). The principal postoperative complications included postpericardiotomy syndrome in 8 patients (4.0%), pneumonia or marked atelectasis in 2 patients (1.0%), and pulmonary embolus in 1 patient. Hemiplegia developed in 2 patients at 9 and 10 days, respectively, after operation, and transient monoparesis developed in another patient (1.5%). There were no wound infections, but the one wound dehiscence required resuturing. Follow-up has been completed in all patients from 1 to 39 months postoperatively (mean, 14.9 months). There have been 21 late deaths. Late lead thresholds were recorded for 45 individual leads from 26 patients up to 35 months after operation. The results obtained indicate that for patients undergoing primary implantation, the sutureless myocardial electrode provides reliable lead function. However, patients who required reoperation because of previous pacemaker failure due to threshold rise have done poorly as a group and may be better managed with lithium high-output pacemaker generators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-567
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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