A St. Luke’s cardiologist implanted the first leadless and retrievable pacemaker in the region this month at St. Luke’s Bethlehem campus.
Dr. Darren Traub, cardiologist and electrophysiologist, who specializes in correcting abnormal heart rhythms, on Aug. 2, inserted the Abbot Aveir VR Leadless Pacemaker, a tiny silver tube smaller than a AAA battery, into the lower right chamber of a patient whose heart was beating chronically more slowly than normal, St. Luke’s University Health Network said.
The minimally invasive procedure in which the device is mounted on a thin wire, or catheter, for insertion, was the first performed anywhere in the Lehigh Valley and one of the first done in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“This new pacemaker offers innovative therapy that thousands of patients in the nation can benefit from, which can increase their longevity and enhance their quality of life,” Traub said. “In addition to the absence of metallic wire ‘leads,’ which can sometimes become infected or break, the option of device removal if a patient’s therapy needs change further increases its value of this product to both patients and cardiologists.”
While conventional pacemakers have insulated wires that deliver electrical energy to “pulse” the heart, this new device adheres directly to the heart muscle to regulate its rhythm. Its battery life is potentially twice as long as other leadless pacers, he said.
St. Luke’s four electrophysiologists, Dr. Hardik Mangrolia, Dr. Sudip Nanda, Dr. Steven Stevens and Dr. Darren Traub introduce pioneering technology and treatments for heart failure, using pacemakers and other innovative devices that strengthen heart function and improve quality of life, the health network said.
St Luke’s is part of an international trial implanting a new, combined device that is both able to deliver contract contractility modulation therapy and function as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to both improve quality of life and deliver life-saving therapy to prevent sudden death in patients with heart failure, according to St. Luke’s.