The major risks of pacemaker and implantable cardioverter defibrillator extraction are attributable to the fibrotic tissue that encases them in situ, yet little is known about the cellular and functional properties of this response. In the present research, we performed a histological and mechanical analysis of human tissue collected from the lead-tissue interface to better understand this process and provide insights for the improvement of lead design and extraction. The lead-tissue interface consisted of a thin cellular layer underlying a smooth, acellular surface, followed by a circumferentially organized collagen-rich matrix. 51.8±4.9% of cells were myofibroblasts via immunohistochemistry, with these cells displaying a similar circumferential organization. Upon mechanical testing, samples exhibited a triphasic force-displacement response consisting of a toe region during initial tensioning, a linear elastic region and a yield and failure region. Mean fracture load was 5.6±2.1N, and mean circumferential stress at failure was 9.5±4.1MPa. While the low cellularity and fibrotic composition of tissue observed herein is consistent with a foreign body reaction to an implanted material, the significant myofibroblast response provides a mechanical explanation for the contractile forces complicating extractions. Moreover, the tensile properties of this tissue suggest the feasibility of circumferential mechanical tissue disruption, similar to balloon angioplasty devices, as a novel approach to assist with lead extraction.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.01.008
View details for PubMedID 24434537