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New Technology Available for Patients at Risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Published on Friday, July 17, 2015

McLaren Flint is among the first hospitals in the state to implant the Boston Scientific EMBLEM™ Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (S-ICD) System for the treatment of patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).  The EMBLEM S-ICD System is the only fully subcutaneous (under the skin) implantable defibrillator that provides protection without touching the heart.  The first patient implant at McLaren Flint was performed in July 2015 by Madar Abed, electrophysiologist.

“The entire device sits just below the skin without the need for thin, insulated wires – known as leads – to be placed into the heart itself,” states Dr. Abed. “This leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched, which may result in a less invasive treatment that avoids potentially serious complications associated with leads in the heart.” 

SCA is a serious, life-threatening condition that happens abruptly and without warning.  During SCA, the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, and it is no longer able to pump blood to the rest of the body.  The lack of blood to the brain causes the person to lose consciousness quickly.  If the person does not receive immediate treatment with defibrillation, brain damage and death can occur.

For those at risk of SCA, one treatment option is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which may prevent sudden cardiac death.  ICDs are implanted devices that can sense arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and deliver strong electrical shocks to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat.   ICD therapy has been shown to effectively stop 95 percent or more of dangerously fast heart rhythms.  With an ICD device, 19 out of 20 people will survive SCA.