Effects of internal defibrillation on an implanted pacing system with programmable polarity

D. S. Khoury, W. X. Zhu, J. Nitta, C. Rizo-Patron, J. D. Maloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Management of multiple cardiac arrhythmias in some patients with both an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and a pacemaker has demonstrated several advantages. In such circumstances, it is imperative that pacemaker function and its programmed parameters be preserved following a defibrillation shock. This article describes the effects encountered by a specific programmable polarity pacemaker (Relay® 294-03) when subjected to electrical defibrillation in a canine model. Three pacemakers were repeatedly tested in three separate dog experiments. Each pacemaker, with its leads implanted in the right atrium and the right ventricle, was subjected to a minimum total number of 24 high energy biphasic and monophasic shocks (600-700 V) delivered by a coexisting ICD system using three different defibrillating lead configurations. None of the pacemaker systems showed any failure in function; all pacemakers continued to function within preshock specification and conversion to unipolar pacing and/or backup mode was not observed in any of the tests. Intracardiac electrical potentials measured directly off the ICD and the pacemaker leads, during a defibrillation shock (mean 566.6 V; 23.7 J), showed that potentials measured in a bipolar configuration (tip-ring: mean 21.0 V in atrium, 12.0 V in ventricle) were significantly less than potentials measured in a unipolar configuration (tip-can: mean 387.9 V in atrium, 394.0 V in ventricle; ring-can: mean 405.6 V in atrium, 395.4 V in ventricle). Our compatibility tests demonstrate that use of this programmable-polarity pacemaker in concert with an ICD system appears to be safe. Testing similar to the present study should be conducted prior to complete clinical acceptance of combined ICD and pacemaker implantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-193
Number of pages6
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - 1995


  • implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • programmable-polarity pacemaker


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