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News

New Option for Patients at Risk for Cardiac Arrest

06/19/2014

Doylestown, PA – The Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital is offering a new option for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The new system provides advanced protection without touching the heart.

The subcutaneous implantable defibrillator (S-ICD) system from Boston Scientific is the world’s first and only subcutaneous ICD, which sits just below the patient’s skin. Stephen Sloan, MD, an electrophysiologist with the Heart Institute, recently implanted the hospital’s first S-ICD system.

"It is of great clinical value to offer this to patients," said Dr. Sloan. "The new system is a breakthrough treatment option for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest."

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, which stops blood from flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA usually causes death if it is not treated within minutes.

People at risk for SCA often get an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) placed in the chest or abdomen. The ICD uses electrical pulses or shocks to control life-threatening irregular heartbeats. An ICD may be used for people who have survived a prior cardiac arrest, have a weakened heart muscle due to heart failure or a genetic disorder that predisposes the person to sudden cardiac arrest, like long QT syndrome.

Traditional ICDs required up to three wires, or leads, being placed in blood vessels in the heart cavity to provide the electrical pulse or shock to the heart. While effective, the traditional ICD has possible risks associated with these wires, including complications during implantation, infection in the bloodstream and a long-term risk of wires breaking.

The new S-ICD leaves the heart and its blood vessels untouched because there are no wires placed in the heart. This cuts down on lead-related complications and is easier to manage than an ICD with multiple leads.

A physician implants the S-ICD System just below the patient’s skin on the left side of the chest during a procedure that takes about 90 minutes. There is a cosmetic benefit for patients, as there is no visible bulge as with a traditional ICD, and the S-ICD might be more comfortable for some patients.

Electrophysiologists with the Heart Institute of Doylestown will offer this new alternative option to appropriate patients.

About Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: www.bostonscientific.com.