Defibrillation thresholds are increased by right-sided implantation of totally transvenous implantable cardioverter defibrillators

Paul A. Friedman, Mary Jane Rasmussen, Suellen Grice, Jane Trusty, Michael Glikson, Marshall S. Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Whether an ICD is placed via a left- or right-sided approach depends on venous access, the presence of a preexisting pacemaker, and other factors. Since the DFT is affected by lead position, which in turn is determined in part by the side of access, right-sided venous access could adversely affect DFTs. Furthermore, right-sided active can placement directs electric current toward the right hemithorax, which could further increase DFTs. This study sought to determine whether DFTs were increased by right-sided vascular access, and whether active can technology was beneficial or detrimental with right-sided ICD placement. Stepdown to failure DFTs were found in 290 patients receiving transvenous systems at the time of initial ICD implantation. Of these, 271 (93%) received left-sided systems and 19 (7%) received right-sided systems. The mean DFT in systems placed via left-sided vascular access was 11.3 ± 5.3 J versus 17.0 ± 4.9 J for right-sided implantation (P < 0.0001); right-sided DFTs were elevated for both active can and cold can systems. Right-sided active can devices had a lower DFT than right-sided cold can systems (15 ± 4.1 J vs 19 ± 4.8 J, P = 0.05). The right-sided implantation of implantable defibrillators results in significantly higher DFTs than the left-sided approach. This may be due to the less favorable distribution of the defibrillating field relative to the myocardium with the devices on the right. When right-sided implantation is clinically mandated, active can devices result in lower thresholds and should be used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1192
Number of pages7
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 23 1999


  • Defibrillation
  • Defibrillation threshold
  • Implantable defibrillator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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