Electromagnetic interference from left ventricular assist device in patients with transvenous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator

Banveet Kaur Khetarpal, Justin Z. Lee, Awad I. Javaid, Lanyu Mi, Nithin Rao Venepally, Bharat Narasimhan, Brian W. Hardaway, Yong Mei Cha, Fred Kusumoto, Siva K. Mulpuru, Komandoor Srivathsan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many advanced heart failure patients have both a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This study examines incidence, clinical impact, and management of LVAD-related EMI. Methods: We performed a three-center retrospective analysis of transvenous ICD implanted patients with LVAD implanted between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2020. The primary outcome was EMI after LVAD implantation, categorized as LVAD-related noise or telemetry interference. Results: The rate of LVAD-related EMI among the 737 patients (mean age 58.6 ± 12.8 years) studied was 5.0%. Telemetry interference (1.5%) compromised ICD interrogation in all patients. This was resolved successfully with use of a metal shield, encased wand, radiofrequency tower, different ICD programmer or by increasing distance between ICD programmer and LVAD (n = 6). ICD replacement was required to reestablish successful communication in three patients. LVAD-related noise (3.5%) led to oversensing (n = 4), inappropriate mode switches (n = 4), noise reversion (n = 3), inhibition of pacing (n = 2), inappropriate detection as atrial fibrillation (AF) (n = 2) and inappropriate detection as ventricular tachycardia (VT) and/or ventricular fibrillation (VF) (n = 2). This noise interference persisted (n = 3), resolved spontaneously (n = 16), resolved with programming change (n = 6) or required lead revision (n = 1). Conclusions: EMI from LVAD impacts ICD function, although, the incidence rate is low. Physicians implanting both, LVAD in patients with ICD (more common) or ICD in patients with LVAD, should be aware of possible interferences. Telemetry failure not resolved by metal shielding was overcome by ICD generator replacement to a different manufacturer. In most cases, LVAD-related noise resolves spontaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1175
Number of pages13
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • electromagnetic interference
  • implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • lead noise
  • left ventricular assist device
  • telemetry interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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