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August 14, 1967

An Unusual Complication Of Pacemaker Insertion

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

JAMA. 1967;201(7):563-564. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130070083034

To the Editor:—  Unusual complications following insertion of a pacemaker have been reported in the literature. The following complication developed in a patient after a seemingly routine insertion of a pervenous electrode.

Report of a Case:—  A 75-year-old widow was transferred by air evacuation from Maxwell Air Field to the George Washington University Hospital. Approximately 8 days before she had sustained a fractured hip and was hospitalized for operative treatment of the fracture. However, as a complication of the operation, the patient sustained ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest. This was quickly corrected, but complete heart block then developed. She had previously suffered transient bouts of incomplete heart block on a number of occasions. Accordingly, a temporary pervenous electrode was passed via the right external jugular and impacted in the right ventricle. Suitable pacing was obtained by a batterypowered pulse generator. The orthopedic situation was resolving, and it was decided that