Chronic lead extraction using intravascular countertraction techniques was studied in patients with over 65 different lead models including passive and active fixation devices. Indications for removal of 115 leads implanted 5 days to 264 months (mean 58 months) in 62 patients (mean 65 years) included septicemia, subcutaneous tissue infection, preerosion, free-floating lead, lead trapped in valve, too many leads, pain, and vein thrombosis. The superior vena cava (SVC) approach was attempted in 101 leads and was successful in 82 attempts (71% of total leads). The inferior vena cava (IVC) approach via the femoral vein was required to extract 14 (12%) leads inaccessible to the SVC approach and the 19 leads that failed the SVC approach (29% of total leads). The SVC procedure includes a sized stylet locked at the tip and telescoping sheaths advanced over the lead to the heart. An IVC procedure includes placement of a 16 F sheath workstation via a femoral vein into the right atrium. A deflection catheter and Dotter snare in an 11 F sheath were advanced through the workstation into the right atrium. The lead was maneuvered into position, snared, and pulled into the workstation. For both the SVC and IVC approaches, the leads were removed by applying traction on the lead and countertraction with the sheaths. In experienced hands, these techniques have proven safe and effective for removing chronic transvenous leads.