Know Your Direction: Merit’s HeartSpan® Steerable Sheath Facilitates Catheter Navigation

Patients suffering from atrial fibrillation (AF) have a minimally-invasive curative treatment option thanks to advancements in cardiac ablation catheter technology. The use of one such advancement, the steerable sheath, has resulted in higher clinical success rates in comparison to using a traditional fixed sheath.1 But despite its clinical success, operating the steerable sheath has its challenges, such as knowing a sheath’s position when under fluoroscopy.

In an effort to anticipate clinicians’ needs, Merit Medical has designed a procedural solution called the HeartSpan® Steerable Sheath. It allows a clinician to move the distal tip from 0° and 180° to achieve the desired curve within the atrial chamber. Unlike any other steerable sheath on the market, the HeartSpan facilitates catheter navigation by offering a Neutral Position Indicator and a tactile click at the neutral position. For ease of use, its ergonomic handle displays two arrows that indicate the directional plane of the curve as the handle turns.

Reaching the desired catheter position by way of a steerable sheath has been shown to have several benefits. A randomized controlled study by Piorkowski et al. investigated the clinical outcomes of using a steerable sheath in comparison to a fixed sheath.1 The study prospectively included 130 patients with paroxysmal or persistent drug-refractory AF undergoing interventional cardiac ablation for the first time.

Results published in Circulation Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology showed that single procedure success was significantly higher in patients ablated with a steerable sheath (78% vs. 55% after 3 months; 76% vs. 53% after 6 months).1 Additionally, fluoroscopy time was lower in the steerable sheath group (33+/-14min vs. 45+/-17min). The authors concluded that using a steerable sheath improved catheter stability and catheter-to-tissue contact when compared to the traditional fixed sheath.

In addition to the Neutral Position Indicator, the HeartSpan has other state-of-the-art features that support procedural success. For navigating anatomical variations, the HeartSpan is available in three curl sizes. Its braided construction offers kink resistance and curve durability. A lower crossing profile enables seamless dilator to sheath transition for smooth advancement across the atrial septum. Radiopaque marker bands enhance visibility, and an atraumatic tip reduces the risk of atrial wall perforation. The HeartSpan’s shaft body is smooth and lubricious for easy vessel insertion.

Contact your Merit Representative for a clinical evaluation. Because when it comes to cardiac ablation catheters, you should always know your direction.


  1. Piorkowski, C., Eitel, C., Rolf, S. et al. (2011). Steerable versus non-steerable sheath technology in atrial fibrillation ablation: a prospective randomized study. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol, Apr; 4(2): 157-65.

New Interventional CRT Center of Excellence at MedStar

Merit Medical is pleased to announce a new Interventional CRT Center of Excellence at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Heart & Vascular Institute, in Washington, DC. Dr. Seth Worley, an internationally recognized expert in cardiac resynchronization therapy, began developing Interventional CRT techniques 18 years ago. He recently moved his practice to MedStar Washington Hospital to launch the hospital’s Interventional CRT program. Training opportunities will be available at the MedStar Center of Excellence beginning this September.

Interventional CRT is a progressive way of implanting LV leads using interventional cardiology tools and techniques. It uses an injection system and specially designed tools to facilitate CS Cannulation and LV lead placement. Utilizing these tools allows implanters to simplify their straightforward cases or provide options for challenging anatomies.

During the MedStar Center of Excellence courses, implanting physicians and fellows learn Interventional CRT techniques including CS Cannulation, Snaring, telescoping, venoplasty, visualization, and wire techniques.  Didactic presentations, hands-on workshops, and live case observations make these programs valuable for electrophysiologists looking for options for LV lead implantation.

In addition to in-person training, the Interventional CRT program offers step-by-step guides for cannulating the CS as well as an instructional video to assist implanting physicians. The Step-by-Step Guide is available as a booklet or poster that can be downloaded. New guides for Snaring and other techniques will be available soon.

MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute has been the premier destination for advanced, complex cardiovascular care in the Washington DC Metropolitan region for more than 55 years, and is consistently ranked as one of the top cardiovascular programs in the nation by U.S.News & World Report (

For more information about Interventional CRT training opportunities and availability in the MedStar Center of Excellence programs, contact Marni Adams, Program Director ([email protected], 503-867-4150) or visit

Expert panel to discuss Interventional CRT Implant Techniques at the Rhythm Theater during HRS 2017

Merit Medical and Discover Interventional CRT would like to invite physicians attending HRS 2017 to save space on their program schedules for an invaluable presentation on Thursday, May 11th from 3:15-4:15pm in Rhythm Theater #2 titled, Interventional CRT Implant Techniques.

Leading the lecture are some of the field’s top electrophysiologists: (Chair) Kenneth A. Ellenbogen, MD, of Medical College of Virginia/VCU School of Medicine in Richmond, VA.; Jagmeet P. Singh, MD, DPhil, of Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center in Boston, MA.; Seth Worley, MD, of MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC; and Kevin Jackson, MD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC.

Interventional CRT Implant Techniques will explore how these leading physicians are utilizing interventional techniques to overcome difficult anatomy during LV lead placement. Experts will share clinical experience, novel approaches, and discuss whether anatomy or electrical timing should determine LV lead location. For more information about this timely event, please visit We look forward to seeing you there!

Featuring the HeartSpan® Fixed Curve Transseptal Sheath at HRS 2017

Our excitement for HRS 2017 is building because it means we’re getting closer to showcasing some of our most exciting products.

One highly anticipated product, The HeartSpan® Fixed Curve Transseptal Sheath, is designed to provide a conduit to deliver diagnostic and therapeutic catheters to specific heart chambers and locations. Available in a kit that contains a sheath, a dilator, and a J-tipped guidewire, the HeartSpan is designed for seamless dilator to sheath transition for ease of insertion and to reduce trauma when crossing the atrial septum.

To facilitate access to a variety of cardiac structures and sites, the sheaths are available in various sizes, lengths, and tip curve configurations—including the NEW ML1 and ML0 curves with intended anterior to lateral and superior to lateral positions, respectively. Both of these curves can be used as possible pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) ablation targets.

Other key features include:

  • Integrated Hemostatic Valve
    Designed to reduce air introduction and backflow
  • Lubricious Coating
    Reduces friction when exchanging electrophysiology (EP) catheters
  • Radiopaque Dilator
    Enables visualization

To learn more about the HeartSpan and its many product features, stop by booth 1549 for hands-on demonstrations of all Merit EP products.  For a schedule of all educational opportunities offered by Merit Medical at the upcoming HRS2017, visit

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Alicia Armeli is a paid consultant of Merit Medical. For a complete step-by-step guide to delivery, refer to instructions for Use. Please consult product labels and inserts for any indications, contraindications, potential complications, warnings, precautions and directions for use.

Join Us At HRS 2017!

Merit Medical and Discover Interventional CRT are pleased to announce training opportunities at HRS 2017. From May 10-12 in Chicago, Ill., HRS attendees can learn techniques and technologies from some of electrophysiology’s foremost leaders. Here’s a preview of what you can expect:

Thursday, May 11

LV Lead Delivery: Providing Options with a Simplified Approach
Booth 1549
In-booth presentation by Dr. Seth Worley of MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. Dr. Worley will be available throughout the day for hands-on training.

Rhythm Theater—Interventional CRT Implant Techniques
Rhythm Theater #2
Dr. Kenneth A. Ellenbogen of Medical College of Virginia/VCU School of Medicine with expert panel discuss how leading physicians are utilizing interventional techniques to overcome difficult anatomy during LV lead placement.
Want more information?

Friday, May 12 

In-Booth Meet the Experts Hands-on Training
Booth 1549
9:30-10:30am and 3:00-4:30pm
Attendees have two opportunities to meet with interventional CRT experts as they share their advanced techniques for LV lead placement.

Throughout HRS, attendees will also get hands-on demonstrations for Merit EP products, including the new ML1 and ML0 HeartSpan® Fixed Curve Transseptal Sheath shapes. For more information about this year’s HRS schedule, visit