PENSACOLA — Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute’s Lead Extraction Clinic now uses technology to increase safety in the cardiac lead extraction procedure.

Lead extraction is the removal of wires, connected to the cardiac pacing device, that follow blood vessels into the heart muscle. One of the feared complications of removing a pacemaker or defibrillator lead is a tear in the main blood vessel. This complication, if it occurs, can be fatal even with immediate surgical intervention.

The superior vena cava balloon is used to seal any accidental tears in the SVC, the large vein carrying deoxygenated blood into the heart, during the procedure. The balloon can provide a bridge to surgical repair.

“Fortunately at Baptist Hospital, in our large experience with lead extraction we have never encountered this complication,” Dr. Sumit Verma said. “The technology is now available to us for all cases where lead extraction is necessary. We are thrilled to offer this new safety technique for our patients.”