June 11, 2015
1 min watch

Cath-lab hack: The easiest way to load a coronary balloon on a wire

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by Kevin J. Croce, MD, PhD; and Jeffrey M. Schussler, MD

It’s late at night. You’re the interventionalist during a STEMI. The patient is getting more and more ischemic while you’re trying to load the coronary balloon on the wire. What is typically a simple task is made difficult by lack of sleep, adrenaline and the fact that you’re “of an age” at which a pair of reading glasses might be in your future.

Kevin J. Croce, MD, PhD

Kevin J. Croce

Take a handy syringe (10 cc works fine) and pull back the plunger until you have most of it extended. Lay the syringe down on the field in the area where you’re working, and then place the tip of the coronary wire and coronary balloon into the “groove” of the shaft of the plunger (the “X” shaped piece). If you bring together the wire and the balloon at about a 45° angle, the wire will perfectly insert into the end of the balloon, every time.

Jeffrey M. Schussler, MD, FSCAI

Jeffrey M. Schussler

If you’ve used this, tell us about it. If you haven’t, try it and tell us how it worked for you. If you like it, show it around your lab.

It’s a handy thing to know, especially if your interventional fellows (and their much younger eyes) are not around to help you load your equipment.

FYI: It works with just about any balloon, stent, IVUS, although not when loading the rotablator.

What’s your favorite cath-lab hack? Share it with your colleagues by leaving a comment on this Eye on Intervention blog.

Kevin J. Croce, MD, PhD, is an interventional cardiologist in the cardiovascular division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Jeffrey M. Schussler, MD, FSCAI, is an interventional cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center and Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital, Dallas.

Disclosures: Croce and Schussler report no relevant financial disclosures.