New implanted defibrillator works well without touching heart

August 26, 2013, American Heart Association

A new type of defibrillator implanted under the skin can detect dangerously abnormal heart rhythms and deliver shocks to restore a normal heartbeat without wires touching the heart, according to research in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.

The subcutaneous implantable (S-ICD®) includes a lead placed under the skin along the left side of the . Traditional implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) include electrical conducting wires inserted into blood vessels that touch the heart.

ICDs can greatly reduce the risk of death in patients at high risk for . Physicians insert the new device without X-ray guidance, and have reduced concerns about broken lead wires, vessel damage, vessel infection and scarring that make traditional device removal difficult.

"Defibrillation has repeatedly proven to be a great asset in prolonging the lives of , but there are still some risks to address," said Martin C. Burke, D.O., senior author of the study and a professor of medicine and director of the Heart Rhythm Center at the University of Chicago. "This new system was developed over a dozen years to combine some of the best aspects of traditional implanted ICDs and ."

In the 33-site study, 314 of 330 patients (average age 52) evaluated had the S-ICD® implanted. During an average 11-month follow-up, 21 patients spontaneously developed 38 episodes of ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. All were successfully restored to a normal heart rhythm. In addition, 41 patients (13.1 percent) received shocks that were inappropriate because they weren't preceded by a dangerous heart rhythm.

The study surpassed goals set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the new device:

  • Ninety-nine percent of the S-ICD® patients remained free of complications 180 days following implantation, compared with a 79 percent goal.
  • When tested by a purposely-induced abnormal rhythm following implantation, the S-ICD® was 100 percent effective at consistently detecting and reversing ventricular fibrillation. The FDA goal is 88 percent.

The S-ICD® has been available in Europe and New Zealand since 2009 and received FDA approval in the United States in 2012.

Participants in the study, along with new patients, will be followed to assess the performance of the new device over time.

Patients with certain types of pacemakers, and those with symptoms related to a slow heartbeat, should not use an S-ICD®. Data from the registries will be used to determine the range of patients who might be helped by the device, including those on dialysis and those with birth defects involving the heart.

"The S-ICD® is not a replacement for other defibrillators," Burke said. "For some patients it will be ideal, for others inappropriate, and the vast proportion in the middle will be able to select the type of system they want," Burke said.

A comparison between a traditional ICD and the S-ICD® is underway.

Explore further: Elderly benefit from using implantable defibrillators

Related Stories

Elderly benefit from using implantable defibrillators

June 17, 2013
The elderly may benefit from implantable cardioverter defibrillators as much as younger people, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

First FDA approved subcutaneous implantable defibrillator available for patients

October 25, 2012
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops pumping blood. When this occurs, blood stops flowing to the brain and other major organs. Recent estimates show that approximately 850,000 people ...

Innovative new defibrillator offers alternative for regulating heart beat

October 3, 2012
A new ground-breaking technology was recently used at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) where two cardiologists, Dr. David Birnie and Dr. Pablo Nery, implanted a new innovative leadless defibrillator, the subcutaneous ...

ICDs can reduce sudden death in young patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

November 5, 2012
A multicenter registry has demonstrated that the use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) to combat sudden cardiac death in high-risk pediatric patients suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The study ...

Dual chamber defibrillators pose higher risk of complications

May 14, 2013
A device commonly used to treat dangerous heart rhythms may cause more issues for patients than a simpler version of the same device. The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) prevents sudden cardiac death by detecting ...

Many people with implantable defibrillators can participate in vigorous sports

May 20, 2013
Many people with implantable defibrillators can safely participate in vigorous sports according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Recommended for you

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.