Pacemaker Breakthrough: No Surgery, No Wires

Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 01:53 PM

By Charlotte Libov

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A revolutionary new heart pacemaker has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of heart patients, according to a top cardiologist. Unlike current pacemakers, the device can be implanted without surgery and without wires.
 
“Cardiologists are excited about it. This new pacemaker device has a lot of benefits for patients,” said Chauncey Crandall, M.D., author of the #1 Amazon best seller, “The Simple Heart Cure.”
 
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The new pacemaker reduces the chances of infection and is also more cosmetically desirable, Dr. Crandall tells Newsmax Health. “It can also be easily removed in case the patient improves and no longer needs it,” he added. 
 
In addition, because of the device’s smaller size, the battery should last longer, and might not need to be replaced over the patient’s lifetime. Current pacemakers need battery replacement every 7 to 12 years, which requires surgery.
 
The device could benefit the more than 4 million patients globally who have a pacemaker. Some 700,000 new patients receive one each year. Like traditional pacemakers, the new device treats the too-slow heart rhythm problem known as bradycardia. It works by monitoring the heart’s electrical rhythm and, if the heart rate is too slow, provides the electrical stimulation to regulate it.
 
“Historically, pacemaker devices and cardiac defibrillators have been fairly bulky metal devices,” said Dr. Crandall, director of prevention at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic. “The goal has always been to shrink them. Now, with today’s microprocessors, we have been able to do that.” 
 
Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan announced the breakthrough recently after it successfully implanted the first of the new pacemakers. The device is installed with a catheter that is threaded into the groin and then up to the heart via the femoral vein.
 
The possible advantages of the wireless, or leadless, pacemaker include the elimination of a surgical pocket and no visible pacemaker device under a patient’s chest skin. There is no incision scar and no restrictions on a patient’s activities. It also has less potential for complications and malfunction. It is designed to be fully retrievable from the heart. Implantation takes only about 10-15 minutes.
 
Currently, people with pacemakers can exercise, but it is recommended that they refrain from physical contact because of the possibility that impact could damage the device or leads.
 
The new pacemaker still must get FDA approval before it becomes widely available. Until then it will be available only in clinical trials. Dr. Crandall says eventually it is likely the device will be implanted during a doctor’s office visit.   

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