Ingalls Among 1st to Introduce Revolutionary New Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator

New type of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) that leaves the heart and its vasculature untouched is now available at Ingalls.

The subcutaneous — or under the skin — defibrillator from Boston Scientific is less invasive than a traditional or transvenous ICD, and eliminates potentially serious short- and long-term risks including collapsed lung, perforation of the heart, and infection.

The new ICD was implanted by board-certified electro- physiologist Andy Lin, M.D., on 53-year-old Vincent Mack of Chicago, who had been diagnosed with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, a complex type of heart disease that affects the heart muscle and left ventricle.

Defibrillator patient

“Mr. Mack’s left ventricle pumped at less than 20 percent, resulting in symptoms of congestive heart failure including fatigue, shortness of breath and lower extremity swelling that required hospitalization,” Dr. Lin explains. “He was stabilized with medications including beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, but his heart muscle strength did not improve.”

After thorough evaluation, Dr. Lin recommended the subcutaneous ICD to treat potential arrhythmias should they ever occur.

“Transvenous ICDs, which are implanted in the chest and involve sophisticated leads into the heart, have been used to prevent sudden cardiac death in patients at high risk for potentially deadly arrhythmias for more than 30 years,” Dr. Lin explains.

The highly intelligent device sends an electric shock to the heart if it detects a dangerously fast heart rhythm. The shock restores the heart to its normal rhythm and aborts the cardiac arrest.

This type of ICD is typically implanted in the left shoulder area, near the collarbone. Using X-ray imaging, the leads are fed through a vein into the heart and across the heart valve. Depending on the heart’s condition, one or two are placed in the heart and attached to the heart wall for optimal connectivity.

But the subcutaneous ICD is implanted just under the skin with no wires touching the veins or heart, eliminating potentially serious risks associated with placing electrical wires inside the heart or blood vessels.

“Like other ICDs, the subcutaneous ICD continuously monitors heart rhythms 24 hours a day,” Dr. Lin says. “It’s always on call. If the ICD detects an arrhythmia, it sends out an electrical shock to correct it.”

The implantation procedure is performed under deep sedation, and most patients go home the same or very next day.

For Vincent, that meant a quicker return to work and the activities he enjoys, like working out at the gym, running and shooting hoops with his friends.

“I’m feeling great,” Vincent adds. “I just had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Lin, and everything is going really well. I have no limitations; I can do what I enjoy doing.”

And that’s the best news of all!

For more information about the new subcutaneous ICD available at Ingalls, call Ingalls Care Connection at 708.915.CARE (2273).

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