New Less Invasive Defibrillator Implanted at Covenant

Posted Date: 2/17/2014

Covenant HealthCare and Dr. Asim Yunus are among the first in Michigan to utilize a new type of implantable defibrillator for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

Dr. Asim Yunus, electrophysiologist with Michigan CardioVascular Institute, says “this new technology works especially well for three types of patients: young people with arrhythmias; those prone to recurring cardiac infections including those with diabetes and kidney diseases; and patients with limited vascular access such as dialysis patients.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is an abrupt loss of heart function.  Most episodes are caused by the rapid and/or chaotic activity of the heart known as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 360,000 emergency medical services assessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States every year. During cardiac arrest, defibrillators can be used to regulate the heartbeat through an electrical charge to the heart muscles, stimulating the heart to function properly.

Current defibrillators are external (think AEDs) or implanted within the cardiovascular system. The new S-ICD System is implanted subcutaneously (just below the skin) and is designed to provide the same protection from sudden cardiac arrest as traditional transvenous implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). The entire S-ICD System sits just below the skin thus there is no need for thin, insulated wires – known as leads – to be placed into the heart itself. This allows the heart and blood vessels to remain untouched, providing a new option for both physicians and patients.

“The main difference is there is no hardware placed into the chest itself, thus, less risk of cardiac complications [from implantation],” says Dr. Yunus.

The S-ICD System has two main components: (1) the pulse generator, which powers the system, monitors heart activity, and delivers a shock if needed, and (2) the electrode, which enables the device to sense the cardiac rhythm and serves as a pathway for shock delivery when necessary. Both components are implanted just under the skin—the generator at the side of the chest, and the electrode beside the breastbone.

Every patient undergoes a pre-operative screening and is evaluated for the device before the procedure. Not all patients who are screened will qualify, however the chance of not qualifying is typically less than five percent.

The length of the surgery, length of hospital stay, frequency of follow-up visits and lifespan of the device are all very similar to traditional ICDs.

About Boston Scientific: Boston Scientific S-ICD® System, the world's first and only commercially available subcutaneous implantable defibrillator (S-ICD) for the treatment of patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted regulatory approval for the S-ICD System in September of 2012. To date, more than 2,000 devices have been implanted in patients around the world.



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