A seal adapted for use with medical devices is provided with a lead having a distal tip electrode. The distal tip of the lead is adapted for implantation on or about the heart and for connection to a system for monitoring or stimulating cardiac activity. The lead can include a fixation helix for securing the electrode to cardiac tissue. The lead assembly can alternatively include an open lumen lead tip. A seal is provided within the lead tip assembly such that the seal is expanded to prevent or limit further entry of fluids through the lead tip. The seal includes an expandable matrix, such as a hydrogel. The seal is formed on or within the lead when the lead and the seal comes into contact with a fluid and expands. The seal is also formed as a plug which is deployed through the medical device, and expands as the plug absorbs fluid. A housing incorporating the seal can also be attached to a portion of the medical device to provide the seal.