- SSMC’s Cardiovascular Department used a newly FDA-approved leadless pacemaker and a minimally invasive procedure to treat the patient
- The patient has resumed normal function and no longer suffers from a life-threateningly slow heart rate
Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care and a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, has successfully performed a leadless cardiac pacemaker procedure to treat an Emirati patient. This case utilized a state-of-the-art technology that was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2022.
The newly-launched technique was carefully chosen for the patient, whose primary issue was a life-threateningly slow heart rate. Dr. Mario Njeim, consultant cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist at SSMC, explained why the leadless pacemaker was selected for this case and said: “I opted for the leadless cardiac pacemaker since our patient suffers from multiple medical problems that could present an increased risk of complications if a conventional cardiac pacemaker were to be used.”
The pacing system corrects the patient’s slow heart rhythm, or bradycardia, by generating electrical pulses that prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.
“This particular new type of leadless pacemakers is unique as it can map and analyze the best possible location to implant the pacemaker in the heart prior to having the device fixated in its final position. It offers an improved battery life that can last up to 20 years. It also has a unique feature that allows pairing with another leadless device that could be implanted if ever needed in the future to allow communications between different chambers in the patient’s heart. It can also be retrieved should the therapy require an update or should it need replacement.”
The device that is FDA approved was implanted through a minimally invasive procedure that did not require a surgical incision and was instead introduced through a tube inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and attached to the heart. “Leadless pacemakers do not require insulated wires, or cardiac leads, to deliver energy to the heart which eliminates the risk of infections seen with conventional pacemakers,” said Dr. Njeim.
SSMC boasts a cutting-edge electrophysiology center that is led by board-certified electrophysiologists with long-standing global expertise in treating both simple and complex heart rhythm disorders with implantable cardiac device technologies. The center also employs specialized nurses and is supported with integrated access to other disciplines and practices across SSMC in addition to the latest research and technological equipment.
Commenting on the patient’s state, Dr. Njeim said: “I am happy to report that the patient responded to the procedure in an excellent manner and has returned home given his healthy heart rate and overall stable condition.”
Dr. Matthew Gettman, chief medical officer, SSMC, reflected on this significant achievement for SSMC and said: “SSMC is a future-forward complex care hospital that ensures the adoption of the latest clinical practices and technologies to exceed patient expectations. Our electrophysiology center has proven its willingness to adapt to the latest in health care discoveries and give patients definitive answers to the most complex health conditions. Our priority will always be to place patients’ needs first and to offer personalized, integrated and compassionate care based on our unwavering commitment to SSMC’s shields of practice, research and education.”