DENVER - New pacemaker technology that has arrived in Denver is being called a "game changer."
"This is how all pacemakers will be done 10 years from now," Dr. Sri Sundaram said. Unlike traditional pacemakers, the Nanostim pacemaker is wireless.
It is self contained. No wires are needed to connect to the heart. "The weakest part of a pacemaker is the wires," Dr. Sundarum said. "That is what tends to break down. The incision gets infected. The wires can migrate and move. We don't have that problem with this."
Nanostim is also noticeably smaller than the pulse generator that is placed under the skin of the chest with conventional pacemakers. Nanostim is smaller than a AAA battery. Here's another big difference: traditional pacemakers require a surgical procedure. That's not the case with Nanostim.
"A standard pacemaker requires an incision in the chest," Dr. Sundaram said. "Then, we thread wires through the vein and it goes down to the heart and gets screwed in and attaches to the heart. The Nanostim comes through the femoral vein and get threaded up that way to the heart and ends up in the exact same location a standard pacemaker wire would."
Endurance athlete Bob Alexander, 59, received a Nanostim pacemaker Sept. 9, 2014.
"I felt soo [sic] bad for a lot of years," Alexander said. "Now, I feel soo [sic] awesome. I'm able to run. I'll probably run 60 miles on my 60th birthday."
Alexander didn't know he had a genetic heart defect for the majority of his life.
When he learned of the severity of his heart problems, he had open heart surgery. He returned to his daily, 2 hour work outs but something wasn't right. "I would have to lie down," Alexander said. "It was not to go to sleep. I just had no energy to do anything. It would last for 45 minutes to an hour. I would have these episodes sometimes a dozen times a day."
"Dr. Sundaram said 'your heart is pausing up to five seconds and it is beating really slowly and we need to get a pacemaker in your chest quickly.'"
Alexander is one of twelve of Dr. Sundaram's patients to receive Nanostim since he arranged for Porter Hospital to be included in an international clinical trial.
"The recovery is a lot faster," Dr. Sundaram said. "Patients seem to like it a lot better. It is a research device so I can't tell you it's any better than a standard pacemaker because we don't have that long term data to tell you that yet."There are hospitals in this study in 50 cities worldwide.
"We're the first to have this in the Mountain Time Zone in the United States," Dr. Sundaram said. "There are only 35 sites in the U.S. and Porter Hospital is one of them." It's estimated 1/3 of all patients who have pacemakers could qualify for the Nanostim pacemaker.
"It's not for everybody," Dr. Sundaram said. "Right now, it's just a single chamber pacemaker. It is for patients who need basic pacing needs."
There are no age limits among candidates.
Dr. Sundaram has helped an 18-year-old as well as patients in their 80s.
Bob Alexander urges people with heart defects in their families to visit a doctor."Don't be afraid to get checked out," Alexander said. "Knowledge is power."
"Because of all of this, I got to see my older boy get married," Alexander said.
To find out more about Nanostim Technology at Porter Hospital: http://bit.ly/1yvnhsp.
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