Three patients are described in whom pacemaker electrodes were unintentionally placed within the left ventricle, followed by considerable delay before the error was recognized. In two cases temporary pacemaker wires were inserted into the subclavian artery and passed along a retrograde course. One patient required urgent surgery for acute arterial obstruction on removal of the wire. In the third case, a permanent wire was inserted correctly into a vein but traversed the atrial septum, probably via a patent foramen ovale, to enter the left ventricle. Twelve lead electrocardiograms in all three patients showed paced complexes with right bundle branch block configuration. This appearance should raise suspicion that the pacemaker electrode might be in the left ventricle, in which case its position should be defined by chest radiographs (including a lateral view) and echocardiography.
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