John Muir Health’s Concord Medical Center One Of Only Two Bay Area Hospitals To Implant Newly-Approved Defibrillator For Patients At Risk Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Press Release

John Muir Health’s Concord Medical Center One Of Only Two Bay Area Hospitals To Implant Newly-Approved Defibrillator For Patients At Risk Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest  

New device is the first with no electrodes or "leads" placed into the heart

Concord, CA (December 11, 2013) – John Muir Health's Concord medical center is one of only two hospitals in the Bay Area to implant the world's first defibrillator with no electrodes or "leads" placed into the heart for the treatment of patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

“This new device leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched, but is just as effective as other implantable defibrillators that monitor heart activity and shock the heart back into rhythm, if necessary. For patients who have obstructed veins to the heart that make placing a traditional defibrillator difficult or not a viable option, this provides an effective alternative,” said Susan Eisenberg, M.D., Cardiac Rhythm Center Medical Director at John Muir Health. “It will also benefit patients who have had recurrent device infections, or even patients who are getting an implantable defibrillator for the first time and want to avoid the placement of leads within the heart itself. ”

SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If not treated within minutes, blood no longer flows to the brain and other vital organs causing death. It is usually caused by the rapid and/or chaotic activity of the heart known as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Recent estimates by the American Heart Association indicate that approximately 850,000 people in the United States are at risk of SCA and in need of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), but remain unprotected.

“Many patients don’t get referred to their cardiologist for consideration of an implanted defibrillator because they are feeling well right up to the moment of their cardiac arrest,” said Dr. Eisenberg. “Patients who have had any heart disease should know their ejection fraction (EF), a number which helps determine if you are a candidate for an ICD, and should consult with their physician to see if an ICD could help save their life.”

Boston Scientific’s new S-ICD® System is designed to provide the same protection from SCA as transvenous (inserted through a vein) implantable defibrillators. It has two main components: (1) the pulse generator, which powers the system, monitors heart activity, and delivers a shock if needed, and (2) the electrode, which enables the device to sense the cardiac rhythm and deliver shocks when necessary. Both components are implanted just under the skin—the generator at the side of the chest, and the electrode beside the breastbone.

Implantation with the S-ICD System is straightforward using anatomical landmarks, without the need for fluoroscopy (an x-ray procedure that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion). Fluoroscopy is required for implanting the leads attached to transvenous ICD systems.

"We were the first hospital in the Bay Area to implant the device after FDA approval," said Arie Van Gemeren, M.D., a cardiologist at John Muir Health. "The patient is doing very well and feels like he has the best possible protection for his condition. The S-ICD system has definitive advantages for patients who need a defibrillator to protect them from arrhythmia and SCA."

Dr. Van Gemeren implanted the first S-ICD System at John Muir Health in late November. The patient is doing well and was discharged from the hospital the next day.

John Muir Health offers a full spectrum of cardiovascular services that span both its Walnut Creek and Concord campuses, with physicians located throughout Contra Costa and Solano counties. The health system’s cardiovascular programs and expert medical staff have earned numerous awards, including the highest level of accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers and recognition from the American Heart Association and designation as STEMI Receiving Centers for severe heart attack patients.

John Muir Health also recently added a six-story patient care tower to its Concord campus. Many of John Muir Health’s cardiovascular services are housed in the new tower, which features five cardiac catheterization suites, 16 pre-operative and recovery beds, a dedicated 12-bed cardiovascular ICU (with 24 hour, real-time audio and video monitoring of patients), 49 monitored telemetry beds, and a separate entrance and lobby.