• Vinalopó is the second centre in the province of Alicante and the only hospital in Elche to carry out this type of intervention.
  • The 51-year-old patient, who underwent heart surgery for two valvular heart diseases, was discharged after 48 hours.
  • The leadless pacemaker is 93% smaller and reduces the likelihood of complications from conventional pacemakers.

The Hospital Universitario del Vinalopó, part of the Ribera healthcare group, has successfully implanted the first pacemaker without wires, making it the first hospital in Elche and the second in the province of Alicante to perform this type of intervention. It is a device that eliminates complications related to the manipulation of the wires for connection to the heart through the veins. It is also an improvement due to its reduced size (93% smaller) and the elimination of the subcutaneous pocket where conventional pacemakers are placed.

The Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Unit has implanted this first device in a 51-year-old patient who had undergone heart surgery for two valvular heart diseases and who, after the operation, required a pacemaker implant. “We decided to implant the device without wires to avoid any damage to the tricuspid valve that had been operated on. After the intervention, the patient was discharged after 48 hours in perfect health,” explains Dr. Luis González, head of the Unit.

Pacemakers are implantable devices used to treat people with certain heart rhythm disorders. “They require a surgical procedure that involves implanting an electrical pulse generator (battery) and an intravenous electrode lead. One end of the electrode is placed on the inner wall of the heart and the other end is connected to the generator”.

Conventional pacemakers require the doctor to make a surgical incision in the chest, where the pacemaker sits in a ‘pocket’ that forms permanently under the skin. The doctor then implants the pacemaker leads through the veins to reach the heart.

Wireless and 93% smaller

By being placed directly into the heart without the need for a surgical pocket or pacing wires, leadless pacemakers reduce the risk of complications. The device, designed by Medtronic, is 93% smaller than a conventional pacemaker, measuring about 2.5 centimetres, has a volume of 0.8 cubic centimetres and weighs only 2 grams. It consists of a pulse generator that includes a battery and an electrode that sends impulses to the heart when it recognises a problem with the heart rhythm and has legs that serve to anchor it to the wall of the right ventricle.

The leadless pacemaker offers a minimally invasive option as it is implanted through the femoral vein with a steerable catheter, eliminating the need for a surgical pocket and leads, reducing the overall incidence of complications by about 50%. It also increases patient satisfaction because it does not leave scars or bulges under the skin.