Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 237–243 | Cite as

Cardiac implantable electronic device lead-based masses and atrial fibrillation ablation: a case-based illustration of periprocedural anticoagulation management strategies

  • Charles J. Lenz
  • Christopher V. DeSimone
  • Shiva P. Ponamgi
  • Alan Sugrue
  • Lawrence J. Sinak
  • Krishnaswamy Chandrasekaran
  • Douglas L. Packer
  • Samuel J. AsirvathamEmail author



Cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) leads frequently develop echogenic masses. However, the nature of these masses is not well understood. In patients in whom atrial fibrillation (AF) catheter ablation is planned, there is concern that transseptal puncture may result in cerebrovascular embolism of these masses. The optimal therapeutic strategy in this setting remains undefined.


We describe six patients identified over a 6-year period (2008–2014) with device lead-based masses prior to or at the time of AF ablation. We examined the anticoagulation strategy and periprocedural management based on mass identification.


In all six patients (age 39–73; four males), the device lead mass was found in the right atrium. The average mass size was 11 ± 1.3 mm. The majority of patients were already on anticoagulation (5/6; 83 %), and an intensified anticoagulation regimen was initiated (INR goal 3.0). In all six patients, the size of the device lead mass decreased on repeat imaging. In two sixths (33 %) patients, the lead-based mass completely resolved within 2 months. The remaining four patients had persistent lead-based masses (average follow-up of 10.9 ± 9.6 months).


We describe a series of patients with CIED lead-based masses found at the time of ablation. These cases illustrate that lead-based masses can disappear while patients are on high-intensity anticoagulation, most compatible with a thrombotic origin. These early data will need to be assessed in larger cohorts for further validation and evaluation of safety.


Catheter ablation Lead-based masses Lead thrombus Anticoagulation Cardiac implantable electronic device 



Atrial fibrillation


Cardiac implantable electronic device


Intracardiac echocardiography


Permanent pacemakers


Right atrial


Right ventricular


Transesophageal echocardiogram


Compliance with ethical standards

Financial support

CVD is supported by NIH T32 Training grant no. HL007111.

Supplementary material

10840_2016_110_MOESM1_ESM.avi (6.4 mb)
Supplemental Video 1 Right ventricular inflow view on transesophageal echocardiogram focusing on right atrium demonstrates ventricular and atrial CIED leads with a single lead-based 12 mass attached to the right ventricular lead. (AVI 6569 kb)
Supplemental Video 2

Consecutive frames from a 3D-transesophageal echocardiogram view of the right atrium demonstrating mobility of a 12-mm mass within the atrium and attachment of the mass to the right ventricular lead. A second mass not seen with 2D-imaging can be seen moving independently of the first mass. (AVI 1882 kb)

Supplemental Video 3

Transesophageal echocardiogram four-chamber view with focus on right atrial and right ventricular views shows the RA lead of the permanent pacemaker, an 11-mm mass within the RA, and the attachment of the mass to the RA lead. (AVI 2430 kb)

Supplemental Video 4

Transesophageal echocardiogram biplane right atrial view shows mobile mass of unclear size attached to the right atrial lead. (AVI 7051 kb)

Supplemental Video 5

3D-transesophageal echocardiogram view focusing on the right atrium demonstrates appearance and disappearance of multiple RA lead-based masses indicating mobility of masses associated with stationary mass identified on traditional TEE. (AVI 7874 kb)

Supplemental Video 6

Intracardiac echocardiography of the right atrium clearly demonstrates large size of mobile mass on the right atrial lead. (AVI 8082 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. Lenz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher V. DeSimone
    • 2
    • 3
  • Shiva P. Ponamgi
    • 2
    • 4
  • Alan Sugrue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lawrence J. Sinak
    • 2
    • 3
  • Krishnaswamy Chandrasekaran
    • 2
    • 3
  • Douglas L. Packer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Samuel J. Asirvatham
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric CardiologyMayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Cardiovascular DiseasesMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Division of Hospital Internal MedicineMayo Clinic Health SystemAustinUSA
  5. 5.Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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