Assessing Torque Transfer in Conduction System Pacing: Development and Evaluation of an Ex Vivo Model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Conduction system pacing (CSP) faces challenges in achieving reliable and safe deployments. Complex interactions between tissue and lead tip can result in endocardial entanglement, a drill effect that prevents penetration. No verified ex vivo model exists to quantitatively assess this relationship. 

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to quantitatively characterize CSP lead tip to tissue responses for 4 commonly used leads. 

Methods: CSP leads (from Medtronic, Biotronik, Boston Scientific, and Abbott) were examined for helix rotation efficiency in ex vivo ovine right ventricular septa. A custom jig was utilized for rotation measurements. Fifteen turns were executed, documenting tissue-interface changes every 90° using high-resolution photography. Response curves (input rotation vs helix rotation) were evaluated using piecewise linear regression, with a focus on output vs input response slopes and torque breakpoint events. 

Results: We analyzed 3,840 quarter-turn CSP insertions with 4 different lead types. Helix rotations were consistently less than input: Abbott Tendril = 0.21:1, Medtronic 3830 = 0.21:1, Biotronik Solia = 0.47:1, and Boston Scientific Ingevity = 0.56:1. Torque breakpoint events were observed on average 7.22 times per insertion (95% CI: 6.08-8.35; P = NS) across all leads. In 57.8% of insertions (37 of 64), uncontrolled torque breakpoint events occurred, signaling unexpected excess helix rotations.

Conclusions: Using a robust ex vivo model, we revealed a muted helix rotation response compared with input turns on the lead, and frequent torque change events during insertion. This is critical for CSP implanters, emphasizing the potential for unexpected torque breakpoint events, and suggesting the need for novel lead designs or deployment methods to enhance CSP efficiency and safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • conduction system pacing
  • ex vivo model
  • lead deployment
  • rotational response
  • torque transfer


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