Clinical trial tests tiny experimental pacemaker that does not require surgery

Lamb Moore holds the Nanostim leadless pacemaker during an appointment with Dr. Nayak.

Lamb Moore holds the Nanostim leadless pacemaker during an appointment with Dr. Nayak.

Lamb Moore, a 75-year-old patient at the University of Chicago Medicine, was the first person in Illinois to receive a tiny experimental cardiac pacemaker, implanted directly into the apex of the right ventricle of his heart.

As part of the study underway, placement of this innovative device — the Nanostim leadless pacemaker from St. Jude Medical — does not require surgery. It is about the size of an AAA battery, 10 times smaller than a conventional pacemaker, and weighs only two grams. Research to date has shown that it can be securely implanted within the heart using a cardiac catheter inserted through a small incision in the groin.

The Nanostim, currently being tested in a nationwide clinical trial, leaves no visible lump or scar on the chest and does not require the insulated lead wires that connect most conventional pacemakers to the heart.

If this trial confirms previous studies in Europe, this device should allow patients to continue active lifestyles, without fear of dislodging or damaging a pacemaker lead. By avoiding surgery, it may speed recovery and reduce the risk of complications. It can be removed or replaced as needed by cardiac catheter.

“This is a promising application that takes full advantage of miniaturized technologies,” said Hemal Nayak, MD, the University of Chicago electrophysiologist who placed Moore’s pacemaker in his heart. “This device is remarkably compact and relatively easy to implant. We think it could prove to be a good alternative, especially for patients who have had problems caused by a traditional pacemaker implant involving leads or pocket, or in those patients who may be at higher risk for developing these problems.”

The Nanostim pacemaker was developed specifically for patients with bradycardia, a heart rate that is too slow. The device monitors the heart and provides electrical stimulation when the heart does not pump blood fast enough.

For more about the Nanostim trial, including contact information, please visit our Newsroom.

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