While the wires, or leads, used with pacemakers and defibrillators usually stay in your body permanently, they sometimes need to come out.
Lead extraction is a complex but safe medical procedure. It requires a specially trained electrophysiologist, such as one of the doctors at Henry Ford Health.
Learn more about our electrophysiology program at Henry Ford Health.
Why choose Henry Ford for lead extraction?
We know that lead extraction is a delicate procedure. The wires sit in or near your heart, so we don’t take that lightly.
Our electrophysiologists perform these procedures in an operating room. The comprehensive team that takes care of you also includes nurses, anesthesiologists and a cardiac surgeon.
Why we perform cardiac lead extractions
Sometimes we need to replace pacemaker or defibrillator leads. The reasons we extract cardiac leads include:
- Malfunctioning or broken wires
- Infection or scar tissue
- Device upgrade that requires new or different wires
How a lead extraction works
Lead extraction takes anywhere from two to six hours. We typically require you to stay in the hospital overnight.
We track your heart throughout the procedure. The cardiac surgeon on your care team can quickly address bleeding or other issues that may come up, to protect your heart and blood vessels.
During the procedure, we:
- Give you anesthesia to make you sleep
- Reach your heart either through a small incision in the chest or through a vein in your groin
- Remove the leads using a thin tube called a sheath
- Insert new leads if needed