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Washington University and Barnes-Jewish heart specialists first in Missouri to implant subcutaneous ICD

  • December 2, 2013
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Heart specialists at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center were the first in Missouri to implant a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD) into a patient during a procedure that took place on Friday, Nov. 29. Unlike the traditional ICD used to help treat arrhythmias such as tachycardia, the S-ICD does not place wires inside the heart or blood vessels.

During the procedure, a single wire is placed under the skin on the front of the chest; this wire is then connected to an ICD that is located under the skin on the side of the chest. According to Mitch Faddis, MD, chief of electrophysiology at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center, any patient that requires an ICD who does not also require pacemaker therapy for a slow pulse is a candidate for the S-ICD.

“This is a significant leap forward for patients because it bypasses all of the problems associated with running a wire through a blood vessel into the inside of the heart,” said Dr. Faddis. “There is also a growing awareness that shocks from wires within the heart can damage the heart to some degree. This does not appear to occur when the shock is delivered outside of the heart by the S-ICD system.”

Washington University physicians at Barnes-Jewish Hospital have been implanting ICDs since 1995 and implant about 300 per year, along with about 250 pacemakers. Dr. Faddis said the S-ICD is part of a new generation of devices that will interact with the heart without wires.

“Wireless sensors are currently being tested to measure pressures inside the heart as a means to guide treatment of heart failure, and wireless pacing electrodes are likely to follow close behind,” said Dr. Faddis. “The enhancement in safety achieved by the S-ICD over a traditional ICD system will quickly drive adoption of this technology as the first choice in patients who don't also require pacemaker therapy. We’re pleased to continue to be leaders in heart care in the region and nation and in offering new technology to patients that enhances their quality of life.”

For more information about the S-ICD, call 855-45-HEART.

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,315 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. The hospital has a 1,763 member medical staff, with many recognized as "Best Doctors in America." Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 13 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is also consistently ranked on the elite honor roll of America’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

Contact:
Anne Bassett
(314) 286-0303
abassett@bjc.org

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