Fewer complications with leadless pacemaker – Skåne University Hospital one of the first in Europe to implant the novel device

No leads through the vasculature, no scars and less pain after surgery. A novel leadless pacemaker can now be used for patients with the heart disease AV block. Skåne University Hospital is one of the first hospitals in Europe to implant the new device into a patient with AV block.

About 30 percent of all pacemaker recipients in Sweden have the heart condition atrioventricular block, also known as AV block. Simply put, AV block mean that the heart beats slower than normal. For many of these patients, the treatment so far has been to have a regular pacemaker inserted into a pocket beneath the skin of the shoulder, with leads going via the vasculature to the heart.

Since just a few weeks ago, Skåne University Hospital is now able to offer another treatment technique that involves fewer complications for the patient. The new device is a leadless pacemaker that is significantly smaller than a regular pacemaker. The leadless pacemaker is implanted via the groin directly to the heart. Once there, it senses what is happening in the right atrium in the heart.

“If necessary, the leadless pacemaker can perform a synchronised pacemaker treatment in the heart's chambers, thus making sure that the heart beats at a normal rate”, says David Mörtsell, Consultant in cardiology at Skåne University Hospital.

Previously, a similar model of leadless pacemaker has been used for patients with slow atrial fibrillation. However, with the novel pacemaker, an additional patient group can get help for their heart problems.

The patient who had the very first leadless pacemaker implanted was a complicated case, David Mörtsell says:

“There were no other treatment options for that patient, so it was satisfying to be able to offer her this solution. Above all, it was gratifying to the patient who had otherwise had to wait for several weeks with inpatient care. Now, the patient was able to go home just a few days after surgery and felt fine.”