Our experience, covering two years, and the worldwide experience, covering nearly four years, indicate a high degree of reliability of the Medtronic-Laurens-Alcatel isotopic cardiac pacemaker. No nuclear battery failure and only one failure of pulse generator electronics has occurred. Recovery of devices removed at death or for other reasons has been complete. Data on radiation levels and pulse generator output indicate a potential pulse generator life of 20 years. Nonnuclear and less expensive power sources can be expected to satisfy the five-to ten-year requirements of approximately 85% of patients requiring a pacemaker. The nuclear-powered device, if released for general use, still offers definite advantages in the 15% of patients in the younger age group.
Gage AA, Chardack WM, Federico AJ. Isotopic Cardiac PacemakerClinical Use. Arch Surg. 1974;109(5):671-675. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1974.01360050065015