HonorHealth Research Institute implants first state-of-the-art modified pacemaker system in an Arizona patient

Two-device system is designed to detect and treat ventricular fibrillation, providing heart patients with a permanent, potentially life-saving way to keep their heart from beating out of control.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Feb. 20, 2023 — Doctors at HonorHealth Research Institute have for the first time implanted into the heart of an Arizona patient a potentially life-saving device designed to painlessly reset the heart’s rhythm in cases of ventricular fibrillation — when the heart starts beating wildly out of control.

Biomedical science has been improving heart implants — pacemakers — since 1958 to keep the heart beating regularly and maintain proper blood circulation.

Over the past two years, many HonorHealth Research Institute patients have been implanted with the Boston Scientific EMBLEM™ Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (S-ICD) System, a proven treatment option for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest that leaves the heart and vasculature untouched, thus eliminating many of the complications associated with conventional transvenous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (TV-ICD) which uses leads, or wires.

But patients don’t always need a full electrical shock to reset their heartbeats, and patients have expressed concern about the potential surprise and pain that might be associated with a full electric shock.

Now, HonorHealth Research Institute doctors are implanting a second Boston Scientific device, a leadless pacemaker, into the heart’s right ventricle, the chamber of the heart that pumps blood directly to the lungs. This device, the EMPOWER™ Modular Pacing System (MPS), is the size of a AAA battery and delivers anti-tachycardia pacing (ATP) — a therapy designed to terminate potentially deadly episodes of fast, abnormal heart rates. It delivers ATP through several low energy electrical pulses designed to stimulate the heart and return the heartbeat to a stable rhythm.

The MPS implant communicates wirelessly with the S-ICD to form the mCRM™ Modular Therapy System. If MPS fails in using ATP to restore a proper heartbeat, the S-ICD is activated to deliver a full electrical shock.

First Arizona patient implanted at HonorHealth Research Institute

That provides peace of mind for Adam Boas of Maricopa, the first Arizonan to receive the new EMPOWER MPS pacemaker. At 37, Adam was working at a job in information technology when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and woke up in HonorHealth’s Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center. After an initial stay of nearly three weeks, he eventually was implanted under the chest skin with an S-ICD, a small power pack and electrode, which is designed to shock his heart back into rhythm if it ever started beating out of control, a prospect that worried Adam.

“I haven’t been shocked yet, thankfully. I’ve been terrified of being shocked. Having the new (MPS) pacemaker takes a lot of anxiety away from me. It would work to get my heart back to a normal pacing without having the threat of a shock.

“I was so lucky to have been brought into HonorHealth,” which Adam, now 40, described as, “so generous with my care.”

If his heart ever falls out of rhythm, he said, “I might feel light-headed, but I probably won’t even know it’s happening. It takes a huge weight off my shoulders, knowing that it would be much less traumatic, not only for me but probably for the people around me, if the (MPS) pace therapy activates.”

Dr. Thomas Mattioni is a Cardiac Electrophysiologist who implanted the MPS device into Adam’s heart on Jan. 23 at HonorHealth Research Institute.

“While a shock can be painful, ATP delivery through a pacemaker is not painful and usually is not felt at all,” said Dr. Mattioni, an Investigator on the ongoing MODULAR ATP clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of the two coordinated devices.

Dr. Rahul N. Doshi, head of HonorHealth’s Electrophysiology Research Program and Principal Investigator for the clinical trial, said, “This coordinated system is different from having only an S-ICD or a conventional pacemaker implanted, as it uses the communication between the S-ICD and MPS devices to determine how best to treat rapid heartbeats.”

Dr. Doshi, who also is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona’s School of Medicine-Phoenix, added: “This new mCRM System precludes the need for permanent leads, or wires, through the vascular system and into the heart muscle, which have historically been used for pacemakers to detect and or treat abnormal heart rhythm. We look forward to the successful implementation of these coordinated devices, which will provide HonorHealth patients with a new level of medical safety and longer life.”

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About the HonorHealth Research Institute

HonorHealth Research Institute is an international destination that is at the forefront of providing patients with a better quality of life through its clinical trials and innovative treatment options. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, the institute’s team of physicians and researchers collaborate with experts from across the nation and around the world to offer life-changing therapies, drugs and devices. At the HonorHealth Research Institute, patients have access to tomorrow’s interventions, today. Learn more.