New Defibrillator Implant Less Invasive, Ideal for Younger Patients
October 4, 2012 8:05 AM
Third subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator (S-ICD) in Canada located under the skin of an 18-year-old patient with congenital heart disease.
(Source: University of Ottawa Heart Institute)
The new subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator eliminates the need for leads and is placed near the heart, not on it
Canadian scientists have developed and implemented a new
type of defibrillator
that eliminates complications down the road.
Researchers from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) have created a new subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD), which is a type of defibrillator that doesn't use leads.
Traditional defibrillator's use leads, which are wire-like tools, to travel through a patient's veins and connect directly to the heart. When a dangerous or irregular heartbeat is detected, the defibrillator sends a shock through the leads to set the heart's rhythm back to normal. However, some patients with congenital heart problems cannot use this type of defibrillator because there is no way to direct the leads through the veins to the heart.
Another issue is that leads can wear over time or break, meaning that they must be replaced. Not only is replacing these leads invasive, but its also
dangerous to the patient's health
That's why the new S-ICD doesn't use leads at all. Instead, an electrode is placed just under the skin near the heart and a defibrillator is connected to the electrode. When a dangerous heartbeat is detected, the defibrillator sends a shock to the electrode and puts the heart back into a normal rhythm. No leads are needed, and the electrode doesn't actually attach to the heart.
This new S-ICD was recently implanted into an 18-year-old patient. This marked the third time this type of S-ICD was used in a patient.
The Ottawa researchers noted that this type of defibrillator could be ideal for younger people because it saves them from lead-related troubles down the line, and the device is also less visible than traditional defibrillators. Traditional devices are placed right under the collar bone, but the new S-ICD is implanted under the patient's arm. This is important to younger patients that want to fit in with their peers.
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