Spectranetics has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) for its new VisiSheath Dilator Sheath device. This device also received CE Mark approval recently in Europe.

The VisiSheath Dilator Sheath may be used alone as an independent sheath for dilating tissue surrounding cardiac leads, or as an enhanced outer support sheath in conjunction with compatible inner sheaths such as Spectranetics’ Laser Sheath (SLS II), a laser-based system for removing problematic pacing and defibrillator leads.

The company claims that the VisiSheath Dilator Sheath is an enhanced tool to help physicians free cardiac leads from binding scar tissue that makes removal challenging by dilating the affected area. The VisiSheath device employs gold-coated steel marker bands to provide physicians with more than 200% better fluoroscopic visibility of the device tip than standard Teflon or polypropylene sheaths.

The first human use of the VisiSheath device took place in Sweden in a laser-assisted lead removal procedure performed by Dr. Charles Kennergren, Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg. Dr. Kennegren commented: “VisiSheath’s fluoroscopic visibility is excellent. I found the device especially useful in supporting the laser sheath through the subclavian vein, reducing friction from the clavicle and increasing the tactile feel when maneuvering the laser sheath. For physicians that do not use the laser sheath, I believe this device will provide a nice, high-performance alternative to existing simple plastic sheaths.”

Following initial introduction of VisiSheath into the US market, Dr. Bruce Wilkoff, Director of Cardiac Pacing and Tachyarrhythmia Devices at Cleveland Clinic, utilized it as an outer sheath for the SLS II laser sheath in a laser-assisted lead removal procedure at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Wilkoff stated: “It is valuable for extraction sheaths to be visible on fluoroscopy and to provide for torque control. These characteristics favor safe advancement of extraction sheaths through fibrotic tissues.”

The newly FDA-cleared VisiSheath Dilator Sheath device will complement the laser-based system as an outer support sheath. Additionally, it will offer a non-laser option to mechanically dilate scar tissue for physicians who do not use laser assistance to manage all of their patients with lead complications.

To provide options for different clinical scenarios and user preferences, the VisiSheath Dilator Sheath device is offered in nine sizes, comprised of combinations of three different diameters and three different lengths.