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St. David's South Austin Hospital Leading the Central Texas Region in Laser-Assisted Lead-Extraction Procedures
Date:10/30/2009

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians at St. David's South Austin Hospital are leading the Central Texas region in laser-assisted lead-extractions. Lead-extraction is a complicated procedure to remove leads, or transvenous pacemaker electrodes frequently used in patients with pacemakers or other implanted Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) devices. Recent studies have shown that using a laser can be a safe and effective way to remove cardiac leads when performed by a skilled physician. Previously, lead removal often required "open-heart" surgery.

"Over time, cardiac leads can sometimes fracture, become infected or become less effective due to biological changes at the site where they are implanted in the heart tissue, causing them to malfunction," said Shane Bailey, M.D., an electrophysiologist with Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's HealthCare. "This can create a very dangerous situation for the patient."

In many cases, damaged leads can be disconnected and left in the body, and are then replaced with new leads that are positioned to provide better functionality. Eventually, though, nonfunctioning leads must often be removed.

Doctors at St. David's South Austin Hospital are now using a laser device called the Excimer® Laser Sheath, which consists of a catheter that follows the lead and uses a laser to free it from the surrounding tissue, which often grows around the lead. A ring of laser energy dissolves binding scar tissue around the circumference of the lead allowing for safe, accurate and efficient cardiac lead removal.

"In the past, leads that were not easily removed had to be extracted using a series of long flexible sheaths," said Robert Canby, M.D., an electrophysiologist with Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's HealthCare. "These sheaths were advanced down the target lead, pushing and tearing away the tissue with which the body had coated it. This was a reasonabl
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SOURCE St. David's South Austin Hospital
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