Percutaneous epicardial pacing in infants using direct visualization: A feasibility animal study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of cardiovascular electrophysiology




epicardial; pacemaker; pediatric; percutaneous; porcine


BACKGROUND: Pacemaker implantation in infants and small children is limited to epicardial lead placement via open chest surgery. We propose a minimally invasive solution using a novel percutaneous access kit. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the acute safety and feasibility of a novel percutaneous pericardial access tool kit to implant pacemaker leads on the epicardium under direct visualization. METHODS: A custom sheath with optical fiber lining the inside wall was built to provide intrathoracic illumination. A Veress needle inside the illumination sheath was inserted through a skin nick just to the left of the xiphoid process and angled toward the thorax. A needle containing a fiberscope within the lumen was inserted through the sheath and used to access the pericardium under direct visualization. A custom dilator and peel-away sheath with pre-tunneled fiberscope was passed over a guidewire into the pericardial space via modified Seldinger technique. A side-biting multipolar pacemaker lead was inserted through the sheath and affixed against the epicardium. RESULTS: Six piglets (weight 3.7-4.0 kg) had successful lead implantation. The pericardial space could be visualized and entered in all animals. Median time from skin nick to sheath access of the pericardium was 9.5 (interquartile range [IQR] 8-11) min. Median total procedure time was 16 (IQR 14-19) min. Median R wave sensing was 5.4 (IQR 4.0-7.3) mV. Median capture threshold was 2.1 (IQR 1.7-2.4) V at 0.4 ms and 1.3 (IQR 1.2-2.0) V at 1.0 ms. There were no complications. CONCLUSION: Percutaneous epicardial lead implantation under direct visualization was successful in six piglets of neonatal size and weight with clinically acceptable acute pacing parameters.