AIMS: We evaluate the incidence of epicardial lead failure and try to identify risk factors in patients with congenital heart disease. METHODS: All patients with a congenital heart defect and an epicardial pacing system, implanted within a timeframe of 25 years, were included in this study. Patients' medical records and lead data were reviewed. Lead failure was defined as the primary endpoint. RESULTS: In total 198 active epicardial leads (atrial 40, ventricular 158) were implanted in 93 patients (median age at implantation 4.4 years (range 0-58.6)). During a total follow-up of 1235 lead-years, 29 lead failures (14.6%, 4 atrial, 25 ventricular) were documented in 22 patients (23.7%). Lead failure occurred at a median time period of 4.8 years (range 1.2-24.1) after implantation. Five-year freedom of lead failure was 88%. The only independent predictor for lead failure was the age at implantation (HR 0.44; 95%CI 0.20-0.97, p = 0.04), other characteristics failed to predict lead failure. Sudden cardiac death occurred in four patients (4.3%), in one a lead failure was documented. CONCLUSION: A high incidence of epicardial lead failures is found in patients with congenital heart disease. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict this potentially life-threatening complication.