Lead Removal

What is a lead?

A lead is a special wire that delivers energy from your pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator to the heart. Sometimes one or more leads located inside the heart may need to be removed.

How is a lead removal performed?

Our heart team works together to enhance the success and safety of the lead removal. This team includes a cardiac electrophysiologist, cardiac surgeon and cardiac anesthesiologist.

After your cardiac device was implanted, scar tissue began to form in the veins and around the leads. This is normal and expected. The heart team must first delicately break up the surrounding scar tissue, sometimes using a specialized laser. Most programs have a cardiac surgeon on call during this procedure. Methodist University Hospital (MUH) takes this one step further to elevate patient safety. Our cardiac surgeon actively participates in the procedure from start to finish so that immediate surgical intervention can be performed should a complication arise.

Is lead removal right for me?

Your doctor may advise lead removal under the following conditions:

  • Scar tissue forming at the tip of the lead. This is known as an “exit block” and causes the lead to use more energy than the device allows.
  • An infection at the site of the device and/or lead
  • When a clot or scar tissue blocks the vein
  • Malfunctioning of the device or damage to the leads
  • A necessary upgrade from a pacemaker to a defibrillator

Meet the Team

Contact Us

To find a physician who offers lead removal or to schedule an appointment, contact:


UT Methodist Physicians - Cardiology
1211 Union Ave, Suite 965 
Memphis, TN 38104
Phone: (901) 435-8550 


Methodist Medical Group - CV Surgery
1325 Eastmoreland Ave., Suite 365
Memphis, TN 38104
Phone: (901) 272-6030