Glossary Entry: Sheath Introducer


Definition: A sheath introducer is a medical device used to facilitate the introduction of various cardiovascular catheters into the body. It is designed to provide a smooth and controlled pathway for the catheter, minimizing trauma to the blood vessels and surrounding tissues during insertion and manipulation.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Sheath introducers come in various sizes and configurations, including different lengths and diameters to accommodate the specific catheter and procedure requirements. Some may also have additional features such as hemostatic valves for improved hemostasis.


Common Uses: Sheath introducers are commonly used in interventional cardiology procedures such as angiography, angioplasty, and stent placement. They are also utilized in electrophysiology studies and other minimally invasive cardiovascular interventions.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: During the insertion of a sheath introducer, the physician typically employs the Seldinger technique, which involves puncturing the blood vessel with a needle, inserting a guide wire through the needle, and then threading the sheath introducer over the guide wire into the vessel. Proper placement involves verifying the positioning of the sheath introducer tip within the vessel lumen using fluoroscopy or other imaging modalities.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with sheath introducer use may include vessel perforation, hemorrhage, thrombosis, and infection. Careful attention to insertion technique and patient monitoring can help mitigate these risks.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: To ensure optimal performance and safety, sheath introducers should be handled and stored according to manufacturer guidelines. Regular inspection for any signs of damage or contamination is essential, and proper disposal after single use is recommended.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Sheath introducers are often used in conjunction with various types of cardiovascular catheters such as diagnostic catheters, guiding catheters, and balloon catheters.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in sheath introducer design have focused on enhancing maneuverability, reducing profile size, and improving hemostatic capabilities to minimize access site complications.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use of sheath introducers in medical practice is subject to regulatory oversight, and healthcare providers should adhere to relevant safety guidelines and standards to ensure patient care and procedural integrity.