Newswise — BATON ROUGE – Ochsner Baton Rouge electrophysiologist Dr. Freddy Abi-Samra has successfully completed the region’s first heart pacemaker procedure in a clinical trial involving a new, breakthrough technology that could make pacemaker surgery available to patients who may not benefit from traditional technology. This first-of-its-kind system is a leadless device that is implanted in the left ventricle of the heart to enable biventricular pacing without the need to attach wires to the heart muscles.
Dr. Abi-Samra implanted the WiSE CRT System in a patient procedure at Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge as part of a clinical study called SOLVE-CRT. His successful WiSE CRT surgery is the latest milestone in Ochsner’s accomplishments with heart surgery.
Ochsner Clinic established Louisiana’s first regional cardiac electrophysiology program in 1986 with many firsts along the way, including the first transvenous defibrillator implants in the early 1990s, the first CRT implant in 1998 and, more recently, first implants of various heart failure therapy devices including the WiSE device, among others. Ochsner Health also performed the first heart transplant in the Gulf South in 1970. Since then, Ochsner surgeons have completed more than 1,000 heart transplants.
“The traditional procedure for correcting heart synchronization problems doesn’t always work, even in patients where it is fully indicated, let alone in patients who may have mechanical access impediments to traditional lead implantation.” says Dr. Abi-Samra. “This new WiSE CRT technology is a potential game changer in resynchronization therapy, offering all candidates a theoretically more physiologic mode of pacing and, for some, new hope. I encourage anyone who has cardiac synchronization issues to talk to their doctor about this procedure and participating in this study.”
Heart failure happens when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. This often occurs when the normal flow of electrical signals within the organ are disrupted, causing the heart’s left ventricle to beat in a desynchronized pattern, which makes the heart less efficient, a situation that may eventually reduce beat to beat heart function and exacerbate heart failure.
After maximization of medication treatment for heart failure, if the conditions are there, patients may also need cardiac resynchronization therapy, or CRT. Unlike standard pacemakers that can correct only a slow heartbeat, CRT devices ensure that the left ventricle, the main “workhorse” of the heart pump, beats synchronously. CRT is also referred to as biventricular pacing because the device paces both the left and right ventricles.
In a traditional CRT procedure, a pacemaker is implanted under the skin. Typically, two wire leads are placed inside the heart by accessing a vein in the left or right upper chest area and guiding one into the right atrium – the right upper chamber – and one in the right ventricle, while a third is placed in a vein called the coronary sinus. The coronary sinus is a vein that courses from inside the right to the outside surface, or pericardial aspect, of the left ventricle. The pacemaker sends electrical pulses through the to synchronize the heartbeat.
For some patients, however, the lead to the coronary sinus does not adequately synchronize the heartbeat. Additionally, some patients do not have adequate vein access in the shoulders.
WiSE CRT System
WiSE is an acronym for Wireless Stimulation Endocardially, or inside of the heart chamber, as opposed to epicardially on the outside of the hear as in traditional CRT. Instead of wire leads, the WiSE CRT System uses a small, passive, wireless electrode roughly the size of a large grain of rice. The electrode is implanted via a catheter inserted through the patient’s leg and placed directly inside the heart’s left ventricle. The electrode also has a polyester netting, which allows protective cells to grow over it quickly in 30-45 days.
A small transmitter that generates ultrasound energy is placed separately under the skin between the ribs. The electrode then converts the ultrasound into electrical energy to pace the heart.
In the SELECT-LV clinical trial that took place in Europe, 94% of patients who failed conventional CRT achieved cardiac resynchronization with the WiSE CRT System at 6-months.
“Ochsner’s success in bringing the WiSE CRT technology to Baton Rouge is a major step forward in our ability to care for heart patients throughout the region. Our cardiovascular team has a rich history of bringing lifesaving innovation to Louisiana, and we are look forward to complementing our services with this technology,” says Chuck Daigle, Ochsner Baton Rouge CEO.
For appointments across the Baton Rouge region, call (225) 761-5200 or visit Ochsner.org/info. In-person appointments and video visits are available online and through the MyOchsner patient portal.
About Ochsner Baton Rouge
Greater Baton Rouge is home to Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge, a full-service, 150-bed hospital and 13 Health Centers across Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston and Tangipahoa Parishes – including Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge. Over 2,300 employees serve patients in the Greater Baton Rouge area, including more than 250 physicians and Advanced Practice Providers whose collective dedication to patient care is recognized for quality excellence by Becker’s Hospital Review, Healthgrades, Truven Health Analytics and Leapfrog. Ochsner Baton Rouge is a part of Ochsner Health, Louisiana’s largest non-profit healthcare delivery system committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 900,000 people from across the globe in 2020, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner's team of more than 32,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Baton Rouge, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook.