Laser Removal of Heart Device Wires Safe for Older Patients

Recent research suggests this less-invasive procedure is an option for most patients who need to have device leads extracted and replaced.

Implanted cardiac devices (ICDs) such as pacemakers and defibrillators are connected to the heart with wires called leads. Information travels to and from the heart via the leads, allowing the ICDs to perform their function of keeping the heartbeat regular. But sometimes, these leads need to be removed. At one time, lead removal required invasive surgery, but now, it is more often performed via a percutaneous (meaning under the skin) procedure that threads a small tube, or sheath, into the veins in which the leads are located.
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