Medical Moment: A new leadless, less-invasive pacemaker

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:29 PM EST
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(WNDU) - Each year, 200,000 people will undergo surgery to have a pacemaker implanted.

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.

Now, a new type of pacemaker may keep hearts going without using any wires at all.

“How do you feel six months ago?” asked Venkata Sagi, MD, an electrophysiologist. “How you feel now? You know, how did you feel last year? Or 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, and inability to meet the needs of daily life,” Dr. Sagi continued.

People with slower-than-normal heart rates may need a pacemaker that sends electrical impulses to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. Baptist Health electrophysiologist Venkata Sagi is leading a study using a new leadless, or wireless, pacemaker that’s smaller than a triple-a 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.

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

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 said.