Pacemaker Lead Extraction Using Laser (Laser Lead Extraction)
- Damage to the lead itself
- A buildup of scar tissue at the end of the lead, where in comes in contact with the inside of the heart. This may cause the lead to need more energy than the pacemaker or ICD can deliver (an "exit block").
- An infection where the lead or pacemaker is implanted in the heart
- Interference between the lead and bloodflow back to the heart
- Interference between the lead and other leads
In the past, lead extraction surgery involved placing a counterweight on the lead and gradually pulling it out. This often resulted in the lead breaking or damage to the surrounding heart tissue.
UW Health surgeons and cardiologists now perform lead extraction surgery using special catheter-guided lasers.
This new technique uses cold, controlled laser energy to free the lead from surrounding scar tissue (see Figure 3). This lets the doctor safely remove the lead with little risk of damaging the heart.