Health Headlines: Wireless pacemakers

Start your day with the FOX 29 Morning Show
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:40 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Each year, 200,000 people will undergo surgery to have a pacemaker implanted. And while most pacemakers last six to 10 years the biggest problem with traditional pacemakers is that the leads, or wires that are used to send electrical currents into the heart to shock it back into rhythm, break or fail. But now, a new type of pacemaker may keep hearts going without using any wires at all.

How did you feel six months ago? How do you feel now? How did you feel last year? Are you able to do the things that you used to do six months ago?

The answers to these questions can reveal a lot. Sometimes it’s age, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a sign you have a heart problem.

“Patients experience fatigue, tiredness, lightheadedness, dizziness, inability to meet the needs of daily life,” explains Baptist Health electrophysiologist, Dr. Venkata Sagi, MD.

People with slower-than-normal heart rates may need a pacemaker that sends electrical impulses to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. Dr. Sagi is leading a study using a new leadless, or wireless, pacemaker that’s smaller than a AAA battery. Unlike traditional pacemakers, this new leadless pacemaker does not require a large incision in the chest. Instead, a catheter is used to insert it inside the heart.

Dr. Sagi further explains, “The advantage of this new technology is that there are two separate pacemakers that are implanted; one in the bottom chamber, one in the top chamber.”

The two devices wirelessly communicate with each other to restore a normal heart rhythm.

“They will find a remarkable improvement in their quality of life immediately,” Dr. Sagi adds.

Another advantage of this system is that these are retrievable. With the existing FDA-approved devices, when it fails or needs to be replaced, the pacemaker is usually left inside and another one is put in beside it. With leadless pacemakers, with another minimally invasive catheter procedure, a doctor can remove it and put in a new one. The final phase of the global clinical trial is underway right now. By the end of 2023, researchers hope to get final approval from the FDA.

Contributors to this news report include Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.