Pacemaker complications and costs: a nationwide economic study

Aims: Novel leadless pacemakers (LPMs) may reduce complications and associated costs related to conventional pacemaker systems. This study sought to estimate the incidence and associated costs of traditional pacemaker complications, in those patients who were eligible for LPM implantation.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on the French National Hospital Database (PMSI), including all patients implanted with a pacemaker in France in 2012, who could have alternatively received an LPM. Complication rates and their associated costs 3 years post-implantation were estimated from the perspective of the French social security system.

Results: From a total of 65,553 patients, 11,770 (18%) met the inclusion criteria. Overall, 618 patients (5.3%) had a record of pacemaker complications during follow-up, of which 89% were related to the lead and pocket. Most common were pocket bleeding, lead- or generator-related mechanical complications, and pneumothorax. Overall, the mean cost of pacemaker complications per patient was €6,674 ± 3,867 at 3 years. Specifically, €7,143 ± 2,685 for pocket bleeding, €5,123 ± 2,676 for pneumothorax, and €6,020 ± 3,272 for mechanical complications.

Conclusions: Major complications associated with the lead and pocket of conventional pacemaker systems are still common, and these represent a significant burden to healthcare systems as they generate substantial costs.