Patient thrives with revolutionary pacemaker

HonorHealth patient Barbara GBarbara G., a retired hospital laboratory administrator, experienced issues with a weak heart and a low heart rate. At times, she found her heart rate dipping to a mere 40 beats a minute, which often left her short of breath even after the slightest exertion.

During Barbara’s search for a solution, she was evaluated by physicians at the HonorHealth Research Institute. Because Barbara had open heart surgery in February 2022 to replace leaky valves, physicians determined that she would be a good candidate for a new pacemaker that was in clinical trials at the time.

A new kind of pacemaker

As opposed to the traditional pacemaker that is implanted on the chest and connected to the heart by wires, this new device is the world’s first dual-chamber leadless (wireless) pacemaker.

“This system now provides a solution for the vast majority of patients who need pacemakers,” said Rahul Doshi, MD, an electrophysiologist and principal investigator for this clinical trial at HonorHealth Research Institute. “Dual chamber leadless pacing is going to revolutionize leadless pacing, and I believe it could actually take over the entire pacing world.”

During Barbara’s procedure in April 2022, Dr. Doshi implanted the dual chamber pacemaker inside her heart. The two wireless devices, each smaller than a AAA battery, were inserted through a large leg vein into the upper and lower right chambers of the heart. The two cylinders communicate wirelessly, providing a steady electrical pulse that first stimulates the heart’s upper right atrium, which loads blood into the lower right ventricle and then stimulates the lower right ventricle to pump blood to the lungs.

Living life to the fullest

Today, the 73-year-old Scottsdale resident plays golf several times a week and is loving life with a heart that beats a vibrant 70 times a minute.

“I’ve never had any problems since,” she says. “I feel so much better, and I have so much more energy. I play golf three or four times a week. I exercise. I walk. I feel totally fine. I’m not inhibited in any way, and I’m looking forward to having a good long life.”

Barbara was one of 22 patients at the HonorHealth Research Institute to have the device implanted during the clinical trial and one of the first 300 worldwide. The benefits of the system were documented in a study co-authored by Dr. Doshi that was published in June 2023 in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Later that same month, the dual system received FDA approval and is now commercially available at the HonorHealth Research Institute.

Exploring additional treatment options for a heart condition?

The HonorHealth Research Institute’s clinical trials focus on medical devices and medications that can improve treatment of cardiovascular conditions, including atrial fibrillation, pacemaker/ICD implants, coronary artery disease and valve replacements.

Explore heart clinical trials