An Electrical Plasma Surgery Tool for Device Replacement—Retrospective Evaluation of Complications and Economic Evaluation of Costs and Resource Use

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Device replacements bear many potential risks for patients. Electrocautery should be used cautiously because of heating of the cautery tip which may lead to insulation melting. The PEAK PlasmaBlade™ (Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA) uses a novel technology to cut tissue. The objective of this study was to evaluate if this instrument is less destructive and can decrease complications and shorten procedure times.

Methods and Results:

Two groups were compared: in group 1, surgery was done with scissors and conventional electrocautery, whereas the PEAK PlasmaBlade™ was used in group 2. Procedure time and complication rates were retrospectively investigated. Group 1 comprised 509 patients, while group 2 consisted of 102 patients. Procedure time in group 2 was significantly shorter with 28.4 ± 8.9 minutes than in group 1 with 47.5 ± 24.5 minutes (P < 0.001). The hospital stay was also reduced (2.1 ± 2.2 days versus 3.1 ± 2.4 days, P < 0.001). One major complication occurred in only 2.4% (two patients) of group 2 and in 6.9% (35 patients) of group 1. There were no damaged leads in group 2 compared to 5.7% in group 1 (P = 0.008). Cost analyses showed that the use of The PEAK PlasmaBlade™ instead of conventional electrocautery resulted in cost savings of €120/patient.


Device replacement is associated with a notable complication risk. Our investigation showed that a new device for generator replacement resulted in significantly reduced procedure time and length of hospital stay while completely avoiding lead damage, which translated into considerable cost savings in a real world setting.

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