Dec, 31, 2013 – Defribrillation

December 31, 2013

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ANCHOR LEAD: A NEW WAY OF TREATING A COMMON HEART PROBLEM IS NOW AVAILABLE, ELIZABETH
TRACEY REPORTS

Arrhythmias, where the heart fails to beat in a coordinated way, are very common. The dangerous ones can be managed with devices that shock the heart into coordinated beating known as ICDs. Now a new type of ICD is being used at Johns Hopkins and a few other centers. Alan Cheng, an expert in the heart’s electrical system who’s using the new device at Hopkins, describes how it works.

CHENG: Everything’s outside the chest. There’s nothing in the veins, there’s nothing in the heart. And the way we implant these things is we put it under the skin right in the armpit area, and we tunnel this lead basically under the skin, all the way across so it sandwiches the heart in that sense. And so it provides the same protection without needed to put his lead into the heart per se. :20

Cheng says the noninvasive character of the implant is attractive but the device is still larger and the battery life shorter than the older type of device. He says the decision on which ICD is best must be made jointly with physician and patient. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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