ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Heart surgeons at Saint Louis University Hospital are now offering a new and safer way to remove pacemaker leads.

They’re doing it in a minimally invasive way, according to Saint Louis University Hospital’s chief of cardiology Dr. Richard Lee. Lee says this new procedure is necessary when pacemakers need to be updated or become infected.

“This is a way to remove those leads without opening the person’s chest and just using a special, new technology that uses a laser and a flexible tube to kind of burn the scar off where they get stuck and take the lead out without having to open the person’s chest,” he explained.

What makes the SLU Hospital laser extraction unique, according to Lee, is that they use an electrophysiologist in tendem with a cardiac surgeon at every procedure, just in case something goes wrong. Patients are placed under anesthesia for the surgical procedure and usually have a one-night hospital stay.


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