Assessment of Radiation-Induced Malfunction in Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Radiation therapy (RT) is a standard cancer treatment modality, and an increasing number of patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) are being referred for RT. The goals of this study were as follows: (i) to determine the incidence of CIED malfunction following RT; (ii) to characterize the various types of malfunctions that occur; and (iii) to identify risk factors associated with CIED malfunction following RT. METHODS: A retrospective study of patients with CIEDs who received RT between 2007 and 2018 at 4 Canadian centres (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Kingston General Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences Centre, and University of Ottawa Heart Institute) was conducted. Patients underwent CIED interrogation after completion of RT, to assess for late damage to the CIEDs. Data on demographics, devices, and RT were compared for the primary outcome of device malfunction. RESULTS: Of 1041 patients with CIEDs who received RT, 811 patients with complete data were included. Device malfunctions occurred in 32 of 811 patients (4%). The most common device malfunctions were reduced ventricular/atrial sensing (in 13 of 32 [41%]), an increase in lead threshold (in 9 of 32 [22%]), lead noise (in 5 of 32 [16%]), and electrical reset (in 2 of 32 [6%]). Higher beam energy (≥ 10 MV) was associated with malfunction (P < 0.0001). Radiation dose was not significantly different between the malfunction and non-malfunction groups (58.3 cGy vs 65 cGy, respectively, P = 0.71). CONCLUSIONS: Although RT-induced CIED malfunctions are rare (occurring in 4% of patients with a CIED who undergo RT), collaborative efforts between radiation oncologists and cardiac rhythm device clinics to optimize CIED monitoring are needed, to detect and manage CIED malfunctions. Malfunctions are more common in patients receiving higher-beam energy ( ≥ 10 MV ) RT.


  • Zagzoog, Amin
  • Wronski, Matt
  • Birnie, David H
  • Yeung, Cynthia
  • Baranchuk, Adrian
  • Healey, Jeffrey Sean
  • Golian, Mehrdad
  • Boles, Usama
  • Carrizo, Aldo G
  • Turner, Suzette
  • Hassan, Ahmed
  • Ali, Elsayed
  • Kumar, Sharath K
  • Russell, Steve
  • Shurrab, Mohammed
  • Crystal, Eugene

publication date

  • December 2021