Philips announces the relaunch of the Pioneer Plus catheter


Philips has announced the relaunch of its Pioneer Plus catheter, “the first and only re-entry device with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) capabilities and needle deployment designed to assist arterial vessel intervention,” according to a company press release.

IVUS captures images of vessels in the peripheral vascular system from inside the artery, allowing physicians to identify a targeted area and place a catheter in a specific location and to help guide the treatment partially or fully blocked arteries.

“The Pioneer Plus catheter is an invaluable medical device that benefits both physicians and patients,” said Thomas Davis, director of the cardiac catheter lab at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, USA. “This catheter can decrease procedure time, which can potentially minimise patients’ discomfort because they spend less time on the operating table.”

The Pioneer Plus catheter is intended to facilitate placement and positioning of catheters within the peripheral vasculature. Commonly used to help treat chronic total occlusions (CTOs), Pioneer Plus enables a physician to cross the occlusion beyond the stenotic lesion prior to additional interventional treatment of the lesion using interventional techniques. With a successful interventional procedure, patients may avoid having surgery, which is a considerable improvement in patient care and outcomes as CTOs patients are often at risk for amputation.

The Pioneer Plus catheter also provides a cross-sectional ultrasound image of the arterial area of interest to facilitate placement of guidewires beyond stenotic lesions (eg., sub-total, total or chronic total occlusions) prior to additional interventions (ie. percutaneous  transluminal angioplasty, stent, etc.). According to a study published by the Journal of Invasive Cardiology, the Pioneer Plus catheter demonstrated a 95–100% procedural success rate in procedures affecting the arterial wall, specifically subintimal angioplasty. The study found a rate of 26% of failed re-entry for cases of CTO that did not use the Pioneer Plus catheter.

“Pioneer Plus is the only re-entry device that has intravascular ultrasound capabilities. The ultrasound on the tip of the catheter allows physicians to see inside the arterial walls to give them the information they need to properly assess the area of interest,” said Christopher Barys, Business Leader at Philips Volcano. “We are happy Pioneer Plus is back in our IVUS suite of products, which aim to deliver improved patient and economic outcomes.”

Philips initiated a design modification to the Pioneer Plus catheter in 2015, removing the device from the market until the modification was complete. The company says that the design modification has had no impact to the overall catheter dimensions, performance or the intended use of the device.

Pioneer Plus has received FDA clearance and CE mark approval. It is not indicated for use in the coronary or cerebral vasculature.


  1. Has anyone used the Pioneer Catheter in coronary chronic total occlusion interventions? Why can it not be used in coronary interventions?


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