From 1986 to 1991, we evaluated the clinical use of three new epicardial lead designs incorporating a steroid-eluting electrode. Medtronic models SP2114 (bipolar high profile), 10320 (bipolar low profile), 10295A/4965 (unipolar low profile) steroid epicardial (SE) leads were used on either atrium or ventricle for a total of 21 lead placements in 17 patients. Energy thresholds (T) were calculated and compared with our most recent 16 nonsteroid epicardial (NE) Medtronic model 4951 lead implants for which T was available. SE leads demonstrated no acute T rise and continued T improvements at 1 year of follow-up. We conclude that epicardial application of SE lead technology offers a major improvement in pacing lead function and potential pacemaker longevity over NE leads in pediatric patients in whom endocardial pacing is precluded by size or anatomy.