Scientists develop a life-saving heart device

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In Lansing, Michigan, a 55-year-old man facing serious heart problems got a new chance at life thanks to an innovative device implanted at E.W. Sparrow Hospital, part of the University of Michigan Health system.

This hospital became the first in Michigan to use a new type of implantable defibrillator, marking a significant step forward in heart care.

Dr. Ali Sheikh, a heart specialist at Sparrow Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute, led a talented team of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers in placing the Aurora EV-ICD device into the patient.

This procedure, which took about an hour and a half, was not just about improving the patient’s health; it was about enhancing his life quality.

So, what’s so special about this device? Developed by Medtronic and approved by the FDA in October 2023, the Aurora EV-ICD is the first of its kind.

It’s designed to help people who are at risk of experiencing very fast and dangerous heartbeats, which can suddenly stop the heart.

Unlike other heart devices that require wires (leads) to be placed inside the heart or veins—increasing the risk of scarring and infection—this new defibrillator is smaller, fits under the breastbone, and doesn’t need those wires.

This is a big deal because it means a lower chance of complications over time, especially for younger patients who could live many more decades.

Dr. Ryan Cunnane, another heart specialist from U-M Health Frankel Cardiovascular Center, also knows how to implant this device.

He pointed out that while traditional defibrillators are generally safe and reliable, the leads can sometimes cause problems like breaking, infections, or moving out of place. The new device offers a way to protect patients without these risks.

The man who received this device at Sparrow was an ideal candidate because he had a higher risk of infections that could spread through the blood, making the Aurora EV-ICD a perfect match for him. Today, he’s doing well and is grateful for the care he received.

This device is particularly good at dealing with a dangerous condition called ventricular tachycardia, where the heart beats very fast and can lead to death if not treated promptly.

While there are medicines for this condition, they don’t solve the underlying problem. The Aurora device, however, can stop these dangerous rhythms without the need for a shock, which Drs. Sheikh and Cunnane see as a major benefit over older devices.

With the Aurora EV-ICD, patients now have three internal defibrillator options, allowing doctors to pick the best treatment for each individual’s needs.

It’s especially beneficial for people at risk of ventricular arrhythmias who don’t need a pacemaker. However, it’s not suitable for those who’ve had open-heart surgery before.

In summary, this breakthrough in heart care offers new hope and options for patients, providing a safer, more personalized approach to preventing sudden heart attacks.

It’s a testament to how advances in medical technology can significantly improve the quality of life for people with heart conditions.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

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