Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-97  

Routine chest radiography after permanent pacemaker implantation: Is it necessary?

NC Edwards1, M Varma2, DW Pitcher1 
1 Department of Cardiology, Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
2 University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
N C Edwards
Department of Cardiology, Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Warwickshire
United Kingdom

Background and Aims: Chest radiographs (CXRs) are performed routinely after permanent pacemaker implantation to identify pacemaker lead position and exclude pneumothorax. We assessed the clinical value and need for this procedure. Design: Retrospective analysis of pacemaker data and CXRs following permanent pacemaker insertion between December 2002 and February 2004. Materials and Methods: Post-procedural CXRs were available in 125/126 consecutive patients after either first endocardial pacemaker implantation or insertion of at least one new lead. Subclavian vein puncture was used for venous access in all cases. CXRs were examined to establish the incidence of pneumothorax and assess pacing lead positions. The clinical records were examined in all patients who had subsequent CXRs or a further pacemaker procedure to identify the indication for these and to establish whether CXR had influenced patient management. Results: In total, 192 post-procedural CXRs were performed, either postero-anterior (PA) and/or lateral views. Ventricular and/or atrial pacing lead contour and electrode position was considered radiographically appropriate in 86% CXRs. Fourteen per cent of post-procedural radiographs were considered to have radiologically sub-optimal pacemaker lead positioning. None of the patients with these DQabnormalDQ radiographs experienced subsequent pacemaker complications or had further radiographs recorded at a later date. Later repeat CXRs were performed in 16 patients (13%) but only 3 patients (2%) had pacing abnormalities as the primary indication. All three had satisfactory pacing lead position on initial post-implantation and later radiographs, but required further procedures for lead re-positioning. Iatrogenic pneumothorax occurred in one patient (incidence 0.8%) in our series. CXR confirmed the clinical diagnosis and allowed an assessment of size to guide treatment. Conclusion: Routine CXR after permanent pacemaker insertion is not necessary in uncomplicated cases with adequate pacing characteristics.

How to cite this article:
Edwards N C, Varma M, Pitcher D W. Routine chest radiography after permanent pacemaker implantation: Is it necessary?.J Postgrad Med 2005;51:92-97

How to cite this URL:
Edwards N C, Varma M, Pitcher D W. Routine chest radiography after permanent pacemaker implantation: Is it necessary?. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2005 [cited 2023 Mar 20 ];51:92-97
Available from:;year=2005;volume=51;issue=2;spage=92;epage=97;aulast=Edwards;type=0

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