It is estimated over two-million Americans rely on a pacemaker or defibrillator to regulate their heartbeat through an electrical charge to the heart. These devices are connected to the heart muscles through special wires called “leads.” Leads deliver energy to the heart muscles that need stimulation in order to properly function.
The 2009 Heart Rhythm Society consensus statement recommends that physicians remove leads under certain circumstances, which may include infection, malfunction, or medical conditions. Of those patients with defibrillators, as many as 20% can expect a lead wire malfunction or a need for a wire replacement within 10 years of receiving their device.*
Dr. Asim Yunus, electrophysiologist at Michigan CardioVascular Institute announced in early June the adoption of Spectranetics GlideLight Laser Sheath at Covenant HealthCare. The system efficiently and safely removes implanted pacemaker and defibrillator lead wires. The GlideLight Laser Sheath produces pulsed bursts of ultraviolet (UV) light energy to vaporize scar tissues that often hold problematic lead wires in the body. The physician guides a sheath with a ring of laser energy over the lead wire to free it from scar tissue along its length.
“The amount of scar tissue varies for each patient and each implanted lead,” said Dr. Yunus. “With the laser I consistently provide my patients the highest standard of care and predictable procedure outcomes. Across a broad range of situations, the laser system helps me free the leads that need to be removed for the patient’s safety.”
The new GlideLight delivers more precise control to reduce the force needed for a safe lead wire extraction.
Spectranetics’ current laser sheath, the SLS® II, requires significantly less force than mechanical telescoping sheaths. GlideLight is a major leap forward, requiring 55% less force when compared to SLS II. It is also 62% more efficient as it advances through the vein through tough binding sights that have attached to the leads.
Covenant HealthCare is the first hospital in Michigan to utilize this advanced GlideLight technology in the Covenant Center for the Heart and Dr. Yunus is the first physician in the state with access to this new technology.
Dr. Yunus has performed over 2000 lead extractions in his career, but his first GlideLight procedure was on June 4, 2012. He has now performed 10 cases with the new laser to help patients throughout the state who need lead removals.
The technology will be released to other hospitals in Michigan at a later date.