Cardiologists at The University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kan., are the first in the region to offer the S-ICD system, an implantable defibrillator that sits just under the skin, leaving the heart muscle untouched.
The device is designed for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, an abrupt loss of heart function caused by chaotic activity of the heart. The S-ICD system constantly monitors a patient’s heart, delivering a lifesaving shock if sudden cardiac arrest strikes.
What makes the S-ICD system different from other implantable cardiac defibrillators is that it sits just under the skin without the need for thin, insulated wires, or leads, to be placed into the heart itself. This leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched, providing many benefits for patients. Those include less scarring, less chance of infection and a quicker recovery.
“This is an insurance policy, it’s like a couple of paramedics sitting in your chest all the time just riding around, and when your heart needs something it springs into action and shocks it back into rhythm,” said Dr. Rhea Pimentel, an electrophysiologist at The University of Kansas Hospital. “It’s the perfect device for patients who don’t need the pacing that a traditional implantable defibrillator provides.”
The American Heart Association estimates approximately 850,000 people in the United States are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest and need an implantable pacemaker but remain unprotected.
A KU Hospital video about the defibrillator is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl3Cb73xf3Y.