Spectranetics creates heart surgery simulator

Colorado Springs-based Spectranetics has created a tool that allows doctors to practice pacemaker surgeries.

The new simulation tool will augment traditional training for doctors performing laser-assisted lead extraction.

Cardiac leads are thin wires that connect pacemakers to the heart – and occasionally can malfunction or become infected and need to be removed. Scar tissue can complicate the procedure, making training to remove the wires essential.

The Spectranetics system creates a way to practice hands-on in a virtual operating environment.

Spectranetics partnered with Medical Simulation Corporation to develop the simulation project. The system features simulated patient scenarios that allow doctors to manipulate extraction tools with tactile feedback and diagnostics.

“Of all the procedures I do, lead extraction has the steepest and longest learning curve,” said Dr. Laurence Epstein, chief of Cardiac Arrhythmia Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Unfortunately, the ability for physicians to receive robust training is limited.”