Glossary Entry: Guide Catheter


Definition: A guide catheter is a medical device used to access and navigate the cardiovascular system during various interventional procedures. It provides support and a conduit for the passage of other interventional devices, such as angioplasty balloons or stent delivery systems.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Guide catheters come in various shapes, sizes, and tip configurations to accommodate different anatomical variations and procedural requirements. Some variations include the Judkins, Amplatz, and multipurpose catheters, each designed for specific applications and patient anatomies.


Common Uses: Guide catheters are commonly used in coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary interventions, as well as in other vascular interventions such as carotid or renal artery stenting.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The guide catheter is inserted percutaneously into the arterial system and advanced under fluoroscopic guidance to the target vessel. Proper selection and engagement of the guiding catheter’s tip with the ostium of the target vessel are essential for successful navigation and support during the procedure.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with guide catheter use include vessel dissection, thrombosis, embolization, and perforation. Careful technique and vigilance during use can help mitigate these risks.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Guide catheters should be properly flushed and cleaned after each use to prevent the accumulation of blood or other debris that could compromise their performance in subsequent procedures.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Commonly used in conjunction with guide catheters are diagnostic catheters, wire guides, and interventional devices such as stents and balloon angioplasty catheters.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in guide catheter technology include improved trackability, softer and more flexible materials, and enhanced radiopacity for better visibility under fluoroscopy.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Guide catheters must adhere to regulatory guidelines for medical device safety and performance, including standards for biocompatibility and sterility.