The vanishing defibrillator syndrome: Incidence, mechanism, and clinical relevance

Fabio M. Leonelli, Robert Salley, Tibor S. Szabo, Chien Suu Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Intraperitoneal migration of an abdominally implanted cardioverter defibrillator is a complication not yet fully described. In a consecutive series of 195 patients, migration occurred between 1 and 20 months in 5 (8%) of the 63 patients in whom a subrectus abdomini placement of the generator was chosen. It was unrelated to the patients' clinical characteristics or the defibrillator model. Dysuria and inability to interrogate the device were present in every subject, and the diagnosis was confirmed by the characteristic abdominal x-ray appearance and the findings at the time of surgery. Adhesions involving the omentum, and in one case, the small bowels, were present in three patients and seem to be related to the length of intraabdominal permanence of the generator. Because this complication may be due to specific anatomical characteristics of the aponeurosis of the abdominal muscles, it is likely that its incidence will be unchanged by the use of smaller devices. A close follow-up of the generators implanted deep to the rectus fascia is therefore advisable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-965
Number of pages6
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number4 I
StatePublished - 1997


  • automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • complications
  • implantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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