New pacemakers are wireless

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Pacemakers, used to treat irregularly slow heartbeats, have been around for more than fifty years.

A traditional pacemaker is placed inside the body, between the chest and the skin near the shoulder. It connects to the heart through several wires – called leads.

The pacemaker sends electrical impulses through the leads to the heart, keeping it in the proper rhythm; however, the leads are subject to natural wear and tear and can deteriorate over time.

The areas around the pacemaker and the leads can become infected, resulting in additional surgery and sometimes removal of the pacemaker -- a procedure associated with some risk. The Nanostim™ leadless pacemaker is a miniature, self-contained pacemaker the size of an AAA battery.

The device is inserted through a large blood vessel in the groin and threaded by catheter into the right ventricle.

There, it is screwed into the heart tissue like a traditional lead and turned on. The device’s battery is expected to have an average lifespan of more than nine years at 100 percent pacing, or more than 13 years at 50 percent pacing.

Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center is one of only 50 centers in the U.S. involved in the Nanostim™ clinical trial. Since the trial began two and a half months ago, the Heart and Vascular team has implanted seven devices, more than any institute in the country.

Physician Background:

Dr. Gregg Taylor is a cardiologist at LeBauer HeartCare and a member of the Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Taylor is a 1991 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas, and fellowships in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.