“Increasingly we're using electrocautery through catheters — electrified wires to sever structures in the heart. Only very advanced operators are doing this, and Jamie (McCabe) is among the doctors leading the field,” Steinberg said.
The retrieval instrument was designed for interventional cardiologists as a “rescue” device to grasp and remove implants such as stents that migrate from their original placement.
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“Interventionalists have become very good at implanting things like mechanical heart valves, but it’s much more challenging to remove structures. Usually, surgeons have to go in and cut them out,” Steinberg said.
One successful procedure doesn’t prove the device’s safety in this tumor-removal role, McCabe acknowledged, but having a device that can grasp and remove small tumors from the heart might change patients’ appetites to follow convention and watch and wait.
“We don’t see a lot of people for these tumor, but since they are benign, open-heart surgery might seem (to patients) like a solution that’s more fraught than the problem. If it becomes clear that this procedure is reproducible and safe and relatively straightforward, then maybe it makes sense to remove the tissue by catheter instead of anxiously waiting for the tumor to grow large enough to create a problem.”Back to HCB News