UC San Diego Health made history in San Diego by successfully implanting the world’s first dual-chamber, lead-free pacemaker system to help treat people with irregular heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias. These conditions can lead to complications such as palpitations, fainting and stroke. Atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, is expected to affect about 12.1 million people in the United States by 2030, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The newly approved leadless pacemaker system, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in July 2023, is placed in both chambers of the heart and uses innovative communication technology to provide a less invasive option for patients. UC San Diego Health performed the first implantation of this pacemaker system in a patient in February 2024.

Dr. Ulrika Birgersdotter-Green, cardiologist and director of pacemaker and ICD services at UC San Diego Health, expressed excitement about the new technology, saying, “The ability to use leadless pacemaker systems on both sides of the heart will allow us to treat more people who they’re currently living with cardiac arrhythmias.” Approximately 80% of pacemaker patients require a dual-chamber option. While leadless pacemakers have been preferred by patients due to their minimally invasive nature compared to traditional wire-based systems, they were previously only available for people who needed a pacemaker on one side of the heart. The new dual-chamber system offers an important option for those who need treatment on both sides of their heart.

By Samantha Johnson

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