Published: Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
European first with pioneering heart device
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital has become one of the first in Europe to make a life saving heart device more readily available to their patients.
The specialist heart and lung centre was the first to use a Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (S-ICD) produced outside of America. The Irish-manufactured device was implanted in a patient at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in May 2014.
An Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) is a device that senses potentially life-threatening disturbances in heart rhythm and administers a pulse to prevent SCA.
Unlike a traditional ICD, an S-ICD sits just below the skin, leaving the heart untouched. While this technology has been available in Europe since 2008, its availability for patients has been extremely limited, as it was produced exclusively in America. The Golden Jubilee has worked alongside the manufacturers at Boston Scientific to make this device more readily available to patients.
Dr Derek Connelly, Consultant Cardiologist at the Golden Jubilee, commented on the procedure, saying: "This is a fantastic development for the NHS in Scotland and we are thrilled to be the first to make this technology available to more patients than ever before.
"Traditionally, patients at risk from SCA would receive a Transvenous ICD, which is physically attached to the heart wall and uses leads fed into the vein. With this new technology, electrodes are placed just below the skin, leaving the patient's heart and veins completely untouched. This eliminates the risk of vascular injury and complications stemming from implantation or extraction and dramatically reduces the possibility of infection; resulting in better outcomes and far more efficient treatment for the people of Scotland."
SCA is often referred to as a "silent killer" as it is almost impossible to detect when it may strike. Claiming more than 350,000 lives a year in Europe alone, SCA can be fatal if not treated within minutes. The S-ICD responds instantly to irregularities in heart rhythm, administering defibrillation therapy and sending an electric shock to the heart, restoring a normal rhythm and ensuring blood flow throughout the body.
Paudie O'Connor, Vice President of Clonmel Operations for Boston Scientific, said: "We are delighted to be working alongside the expert team at the Golden Jubilee to implant the first S-ICD manufactured at our Clonmel facilities.
"We are very proud of our team who have worked so hard to bring this innovative technology from America to Europe, getting to a point that we can satisfy worldwide demand for this treatment. This is an extremely exciting time for everyone involved."
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital is home to regional and national heart and lung services for NHSScotland and is the flagship hospital for the new NHS Innovation Fund in Scotland.