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Laser Lead Extraction

Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) deliver electrical charges to the heart via special wires called “leads.” In certain cases, a physician may determine that one or more leads needs to be removed from inside the heart due to damage, infection, blockage or scar tissue – problems impacting patient health and/or the device’s performance. This removal procedure is called “lead extraction.”

Erlanger Cardiology offers highly specialized expertise in lead extraction, serving as a training center for physicians from around the country in how to safely perform this technique. Our team is also involved with the newest methods of reducing the chances of adverse complications during this procedure. 

How the Lead Is Removed

  1. Your physician will extract device leads either through an incision in the upper chest over the subclavian vein, or through a small puncture in the groin over the femoral vein.
  2. A special sheath (tube) is placed in the vein, threaded over the lead, and guided to the tip of the lead where it attaches to the heart.
  3. A laser light attached to the sheath is used to break up any scar tissue, where the lead connected to the heart.
  4. Your physician removes the lead using the special sheath.


Erlanger Cardiology
Erlanger Medical Mall
979 East 3rd Street
Suite C-520
Chattanooga, TN 37403