Rail guidewires

Last revised by Yahya Baba on 17 Jun 2023

Rail guidewires, also known as working wires, are interventional procedures wires used during the last steps of interventions and have ideal properties for equipment exchange (e.g. angioplasty balloons, stents). They are inserted in the catheter after reaching the target destination and after removing the navigation wire.

The most common rail wires are1:

Rail wires come in different tip shapes, lengths, and sizes1,2:

  • floppy straight tip

  • J-shaped tip

  • stiff body

  • non-hydrophilic

  • twice the length of the catheter used during a catheter exchange - to ensure the successful removal of the catheter without losing the position of the wire,

Provides a stable platform for advancing heavy/ large devices without wire kinking or herniation:

  • balloon angioplasty

  • stents deployment

  • maintaining access

To avoid injury, these wires should not be steered through curves, but rather introduced through a catheter.

When using an angled-tip non-hydrophilic wires, coiling the wire's end at the operator's side assists in guiding the wire without relying on a torque device.

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