Pacemaker Pair Keeps Monique in Sync -- EBR Systems

A pair of revolutionary leadless pacemakers have been successfully implanted into the heart of a patient in Melbourne in a world-first procedure.


The exciting milestone — which was the work of cardiologists at Monash Health — used two already-available wireless devices to rejig the heart’s rhythm, without the need for wires to be connected into the heart.


It’s the first time the pacemakers have been used in tandem to create the response, and as a first, not final, option.


Monique Neu’s pacemaker is the size of a grain of rice


Dr Jeffrey Alison, who leads the Cardiac Rhythm Management research team at Monash Heart, hopes the procedure will become a “good alternative" for helping patients with extreme types of heart failure.


“This is sort of a bit of a leap into the future to where pacing may go,” Dr Alison said.


“It’s a proof of concept that we can achieve very complex interventions without having to put any leads (wires) inside the heart.”


The current-standard of practise for patients who need a pacemaker is an implant which is connected via three permanent leads, or wires, that pass through a patient’s veins and into the heart.


In some cases where this has failed, or where there’s a risk of infection, a leadless pacemaker is later used.


But last month, via intricate keyhole surgery, Dr Alison and his team successfully trialled the use of two leadless devices — the Micra AV and WiSE left ventricular endocardial pacing system.


Their patient, Monique Neu, 24, was the first person in the world to undergo the double procedure, which saw one device placed in her right ventricle and another, about the size of a grain of rice, placed in the left.


This means the activity of the atrium, where the heart’s normal rhythm originates, can be tracked and the devices used to restore the 24-year-old’s heart beat to normal — which is done via a technique known as cardiac resynchronisation therapy.


Ms Neu, from Frankston, said she was “so grateful” to have had the procedure after being diagnosed with serious heart conditions, including cardiomyopathy and heart failure, at just 13.


“I have a lot more energy, I don’t run out of breath as much as I used to and I just feel more alive,” she said.


“I feel very lucky to have had this procedure done, because it literally saved my life.”


Dr Alison said while the procedure was specific to people with a certain type of abnormality in their heart rhythm, it had the potential to help others — particularly young people — who needed long-term pacing.


“It’s two devices that have been developed for separate indications and we’ve brought them together for this specific occasion,” Dr Alison said.


“It’s not for everyone with heart failure … but [for some] we can have a huge impact on patient outcomes. It’s really pleasing.”

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