"It's kind of like having his own paramedic squad in his chest," said Dr. Jeff Osborn, a cardiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.
Dr. Jeff Osborn, cardiologist with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, talks about the subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.
No wires, Osborn
said, can be a good thing, especially for younger patients.
"There are some downsides to having leads or wires directly touching the heart," the doctor said, adding that wires have a "finite life" and may need to be replaced, which is an even higher risk procedure and involves another open-heart surgery.
Wires in the heart can also become infected, causing even more risk for the patient.
"This new device offers less risk with the same life-saving benefit," Osborn
said the system's action would be similar to having the two paddles of the automated external defibrillator placed on the chest at all times, "but buried under the skin."
Most episodes of cardiac arrest, Osborn
said, are caused by the rapid and/or chaotic activity of the heart, known as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.
Recent estimates reveal that approximately 850,000 people in the United States are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest and would benefit from an implantable cardioverter defibrillator device, which has been used to monitor and assist hearts since the early '80s but remain unprotected.
said the devices are known life savers, and new technology is upping the game.