New implant gets hearts beating in rhythm - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New implant gets hearts beating in rhythm

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(03/31/14) - A brand new implant device is shocking hearts back to life in new, potentially safer way, and a Flint hospital is among the first in Michigan to offer it. The first patient now has his S-ICD defibrillator. We caught up with him just before he went in for surgery.

Defibrillators have been around a long time - they are the paddles that we see shocking hearts back life on medical dramas all the time. Portable and implantible defibrillators, that monitor high risk patients, and shock their hearts back to beating, have also been around for some time. So, what is so different about this S-ICD? The new implant is taking the technology even farther, making it safer to stop sudden cardiac arrest.

Forty-four-year-old Antonio Ferguson says being Hurley's first S-ICD patient is quite a ride, "it's cool and scary, really, because the first one in Genesee County, that's kinda cool."

Antonio has actually been wearing a defibrillator vest under his clothes for the last five months, because his doctors fear his irregular heart beat is such a threat to his life.

"That vest was a nuisance, really because I had to wear a vest and carry a heavy battery pack with it," says Antonio, who is now putting his trust in S-ICD.

There are other implants devices. The T-ICD uses leads, that are snaked through a vein, then placed in the heart, to send life-saving shocks to as needed. The difference is placement.

The new S-ICD is made up of a generator and an attached electrode. The generator is placed just under the skin on the left side of the chest. It monitors the heart rhythm and sends electrical shocks, if needed, through an attached electrode that is placed along the breast bone. It does not go through any veins. It also does not directly contact the heart.

That makes it less invasive and potentially safer for patients, says Dr. Madar Abed, "especially who are on dialysis or who need chemotherapy who need a venous port to give them therapy, it may not be a good idea to have a defibrillator lead inside your vein."

Not only could leads block the vein, they carry a higher risk for clot formation and infection than the electrodes that come with S-ICD.

Antonio says he should only be in the hospital for one night after surgery. He will need to have his device monitored, and the battery should last up to five years.

Hurley is one of only five hospitals in the state offering the S-ICD.

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