HRS: Cook unveils locking stylet

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Cook Medical released its Locking Stylet with Beacon Tip, a radiopaque tip maker, at this year’s annual Heart Rhythm Society meeting last week. The company said that the new technology will give physicians further support and control during lead extraction procedures.

The Bloomington, Ind.-based Cook said that the radiopaque tip helps position the Liberator locking stylet as it is positioned within the lead. The design using radiopaque materials makes the stylet visible under fluoroscopy, which will help physicians lock the stylet as close to the distal tip as possible.

“When you need to take a lead out you have to have tools to remove the lead as safely as possible,” Robert A. Schweikert, MD, chief of cardiology at Akron General Heart & Vascular Center in Akron, Ohio, said in an interview. “We need as much control over the lead as possible and what becomes most important is having that locking stylet inserted all the way down inside the lumen of the coiled conductor.”

Schweikert offered that one of the major challenges of removing a lead is avoiding a tear in the blood vessel. “This can cause severe problems so the more control over the lead you have the better.”

The Cook technology allows the lead to be seen via x-ray, which allows for better visibility and physician confidence. “We can now confirm that the locking stylet goes all the way to the end of the lead,” Schweikert offered.

The question now is whether this technology changes performance of the previous system and so far Schwerikert offered that in the 50 or so cases he has performed, there have been no technical differences.