They are battery-powered devices placed under the skin to help track a person’s heart rate. Normally, thin wires called “leads” are threaded transvenously — through blood vessels — to the heart to detect and treat abnormal heart rhythm.
The new device, known as the S-ICD, can defibrillate a person’s heart without the use of leads within the heart. Cardiac defibrillation is a way to return an abnormally fast or disorganized heartbeat to normal with an electric shock.
The system uses a pulse generator capable of delivering shocks to help restore normal heart rhythm. Unlike transvenous devices the new system is implanted under the skin outside of the left chest and uses an electrode implanted beneath the skin instead of transvenous leads to both sense and deliver therapy.
The system has been successfully implanted in both new arrhythmia patients and in patients with prior transvenous devices.
“S-ICD offers an encouraging new option for arrhythmia patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest that could help reduce the risk of complications often caused by wire leads,” said Angel Leon, M.D., professor of medicine and the chief of cardiology at Emory University Hospital Midtown. “These leads are often the source of infection, vein injury and other medical complications.”
Leon and his Emory colleagues participated in a national clinical study of the system, before the FDA approved it in 2013.
In the trial, the device was successfully implanted in 314 patients. The findings supported the efficacy and safety of the system for the treatment of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Results of the trial were published in the June 28 edition of Circulation.
For more information about the device, call Emory Health Connection at (404) 778-7777.