Glossary Entry: Debulking Catheter


Definition: A debulking catheter is a medical device used to remove or reduce the size of atherosclerotic plaque in blood vessels, particularly in the coronary arteries. It is designed to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: There are different types of debulking catheters, including rotational atherectomy devices and orbital atherectomy devices, each with specific applications and methods of plaque removal.


Common Uses: Debulking catheters are commonly used in patients with severe coronary artery disease or significant atherosclerotic plaque buildup that cannot be adequately addressed with standard angioplasty procedures.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The debulking catheter is inserted into the affected blood vessel and directed to the site of plaque buildup. The physician then activates the device to remove or reduce the plaque, using specific techniques such as rotational or orbital atherectomy methods if applicable.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with debulking catheter use include vessel perforation, dissection, and embolization of plaque debris, which can lead to myocardial infarction or stroke.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: It is essential to follow strict maintenance and cleaning protocols for the debulking catheter to ensure its proper function and safety for subsequent use.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Related devices or accessories that may be used in conjunction with debulking catheters include guidewires, introducer sheaths, and angioplasty balloons for additional plaque modification.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in debulking catheter technology include improved device designs for better navigation through tortuous vessels and enhanced control during plaque removal.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use of debulking catheters is subject to regulatory considerations and safety guidelines to minimize the risk of complications and ensure patient safety.