Simulation Trains for Laser Lead Extractions


May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010 – A new simulation system to augment traditional procedural training for physicians on laser-assisted lead extraction procedures permits hands-on practice with extraction tools in a virtual environment. Spectranetics Corp. introduced its Laser Lead Extraction Simulation system at the Heart Rhythm Society’s (HRS) 31st Annual Scientific Sessions this week in Denver.

Due in part to the large and growing number of leads to manage in patients implanted with pacemakers and defibrillators, in May 2009 HRS updated its expert consensus recommendations for lead extraction. Acknowledging the challenge for physicians to achieve the desired volume of proctored cases in a training regime, HRS experts highlighted lead extraction simulation with realistic scenarios as an important future component of initial hands-on exposure and subsequent maintenance of skills.

Spectranetics has partnered with Medical Simulation Corporation (MSC) to develop the customized Laser Lead Extraction Simulation in conjunction with MSC’s SimSuite simulation technology platform. The simulation system features simulated patient scenarios that allow physicians to manipulate lead extraction tools with tactile feedback and visual diagnostics such as virtual X-ray imagery that closely mimics real-world patient scenarios. Physicians are able to experience the force interactions coinciding with successful techniques and encounter potential complications to learn avoidance and management skills.

The simulation system specifically incorporates use of the Spectranetics SLS II Laser Sheath, LLD EZ Lead Locking Device and VisiSheath Dilator Sheath in the lead extraction process.

"Of all the procedures I do, lead extraction has the steepest and longest learning curve. Many studies have now demonstrated that in experienced hands extraction is a safe and effective approach to lead management," said Laurence Epstein, M.D., chief of cardiac arrhythmia services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. "Unfortunately the ability for physicians to receive robust training is limited. The old approach of ‘see one, do one, teach one’ does not provide the experience experts feel is important, therefore the availability of a realistic simulator is a major step forward in physician training and thereby improved patient outcomes."

Leads may become nonfunctional or infected, resulting in the need for removal. As scar tissue can bind the leads in several places along their length, removing cardiac leads can be challenging. Spectranetics’ excimer laser sheath vaporizes the binding scar tissue to free the leads.

The Laser Lead Extraction Simulation system, along with Spectranetics’ Lead Management solutions, can be viewed at booth 1613 at Heart Rhythm 2010 exhibit, which is taking place May 13-15, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

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