Efficacy and mortality of rotating sheaths versus laser sheaths for transvenous lead extraction: a meta-analysis

J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2023 Aug;66(5):1067-1075. doi: 10.1007/s10840-021-01076-x. Epub 2021 Nov 27.


Background: Rotating and laser sheaths are both routinely used in transvenous lead extraction (TLE) which can lead to catastrophic complications including death. The efficacy and risk of each approach are uncertain. To perform a meta-analysis to compare success and mortality rates associated with rotating and laser sheaths.

Methods: We searched electronic academic databases for case series of consecutive patients and randomized controlled trials published 1998-2017 describing the use of rotating and laser sheaths for TLE. Among 48 studies identified, rotating sheaths included 1,094 patients with 1,955 leads in 14 studies, and laser sheaths included 7,775 patients with 12,339 leads in 34 studies. Patients receiving rotating sheaths were older (63 versus 60 years old) and were more often male (74% versus 72%); CRT-P/Ds were more commonly extracted using rotating sheaths (12% versus 7%), whereas ICDs were less common (37% versus 42%), p > 0.05 for all. Infection as an indication for lead extraction was higher in the rotating sheath group (59.8% versus 52.9%, p = 0.002). The mean time from initial lead implantation was 7.2 years for rotating sheaths and 6.3 years for laser sheaths (p > 0.05).

Results: Success rates for complete removal of transvenous leads were 95.1% in rotating sheaths and 93.4% in laser sheaths (p < 0.05). There was one death among 1,094 patients (0.09%) in rotating sheaths and 66 deaths among 7,775 patients (0.85%) in laser sheaths, translating to a 9.3-fold higher risk of death with laser sheaths (95% CI 1.3 to 66.9, p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Laser sheaths were associated with lower complete lead removal rate and a 9.3-fold higher risk of death.

Keywords: CIEDs; Laser sheaths; Mortality; Rotating sheaths; Transvenous lead extraction.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Device Removal
  • Equipment Failure
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome