Objectives. The purpose of this randomized study was to evaluate the prevalence of pocket hematomas in patients treated with heparin 6 h or 24 h after pacemaker or defibrillator implantation. Background. The risks of pocket hematoma and need for evacuation after device implantation have not been defined in patients who require anticoagulation. Methods. Forty-nine consecutive patients with an indication for anticoagulation with heparin after implantable defibrillator or pacemaker implantation were randomized to receive intravenous heparin either 6 h (n = 26) or 24 h (n = 23) postoperatively. Both groups also received warfarin on a daily basis starting the evening of surgery. Twenty-eight patients who received postoperative warfarin alone and 115 patients who did not receive anticoagulation were followed up in a study registry. Results. A pocket hematoma developed in 6 of 26 patients (22%) who were treated with intravenous heparin 6 h postoperatively, as compared with 4 of 23 patients (17%) who were treated with intravenous heparin 24 h postoperatively (p = 0.7). In total, a pocket hematoma developed in 10 of 49 patients (20%) treated with heparin, 1 of 28 patients (4%) treated with warfarin alone and 2 of 115 (2%) patients who received no anticoagulation (p < 0.001). Conclusions. Intravenous heparin initiation 6 h or 24 h after pacemaker or defibrillator implantation is associated with a 20% prevalence of pocket hematoma formation. Warfarin therapy or no anticoagulation is associated with only a 2% to 4% risk of pocket hematoma formation. (C) 2000 by the American College of Cardiology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine