Providence St. Joseph Hospital Implants First Dual Chamber Leadless Pacemaker on West Coast

November 6, 2023

A heart specialist at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange has successfully implanted a first-of-its-kind wireless pacemaker that has the ability to control both heart chambers using synchronized wireless communication. The revolutionary pacemaker has recently received FDA clearance and consists of two small AAA battery-sized capsules that are inserted directly into the heart during a minimally invasive procedure in which patients can return home the same-day. Approximately three million Americans live with pacemakers, which are commonly used for patients with a low or abnormal heart rhythm.

Existing technology pacemakers control just one chamber of the heart and it’s estimated more than 80 percent of the patients who require pacemakers need a device that controls both chambers of the heart. 

“This is truly a breakthrough with a technological advancement that’s like the difference between dial-up internet and high-speed Wi-Fi,” said Brian Kim, MD, the cardiology and electrophysiology specialist with Providence St. Joseph Hospital who performed the procedure. “With a majority of patients having need for dual chamber control, and the increased longevity this new technology affords clinicians, more and younger patients will benefit from this game changing device.”

Traditional pacemakers are placed underneath the skin, or “pocketed” and use wires or “leads” attached to the heart to correct abnormal heart rhythms. The newest leadless devices are implanted directly into the heart through a minimally invasive procedure and eliminate the need for cardiac leads. As a result, leadless pacemakers reduce people’s exposure to potential lead and pocket-related complications and offer a less restrictive and shorter recovery period post-implantation.

Providence St. Joseph Hospital and its industry-leading specialists continue to be the forerunners in developing and providing access to the most innovative, cutting-edge cardiovascular therapies, technologies and surgical techniques for our patients,” said Brian Helleland, Chief Executive of Providence St. Joseph Hospital. “This important accomplishment is yet another example of how dedicated our entire team is to advancing the health of all patients who entrust us with their care.”

The new device, Abbott’s AVEIR™ DR, is roughly one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. The dual chamber leadless pacing system is made up of two devices – a ventricular leadless pacemaker, which paces the right ventricle (VR), and an atrial leadless pacemaker, which paces the right atrium (AR). The device offers beat-to-beat communication between the two leadless pacemakers, thereby controlling both heart chambers.

“This new pacemaker will revolutionize care for our current patients and creates a significant opportunity to expand the number of people we can serve,” said Kim. “We look forward to using the device to help improve the lives of millions of people across the U.S. require pacing in both chambers of the heart.”

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