Back to Top Skip to main content

Walter Reed makes new leadless pacemaker available to military patients

Surgeons at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center implant the leadless pacemaker. (U.S. Army photo) Surgeons at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center implant the leadless pacemaker. (U.S. Army photo)

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Innovation | Technology | Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Healthcare Professionals)

Heart surgeons at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are giving patients a chance to live longer with a newly approved device that’s keeping their hearts beating.

Doctors there are implementing use of the leadless pacemaker, a device that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2016.

Leadless pacemakers don’t have the leads, or wires, found in traditional pacemakers. They’re significantly smaller than traditional pacemakers. Since there are no leads for the energy to pass through, the generator is able to make direct contact with heart tissue. This process takes less energy to pace the heart.

Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Matthew Needleman, a cardiologist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, holds the leadless pacemaker. (U.S. Army photo by Mark Oswell)Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Matthew Needleman, a cardiologist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, holds the leadless pacemaker. (U.S. Army photo by Mark Oswell)

“The ‘Achilles heel’ of traditional pacemakers has always been the pacemaker leads, long metal wires coated with a silicon/plastic that are tunneled from the pacemaker under the left collarbone into the heart,” said Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Matthew Needleman, a cardiologist at Walter Reed.

Needleman noted the new pacemakers solve a few big problems. The leads on traditional pacemakers can fracture, dislodge and get infected. That infection can travel to the entire heart, leading to the removal of the pacemaker, a procedure that can lead to deadly results for the patient.

“Leadless pacemakers are implanted directly into the right ventricle in the heart, solving a significant portion of pacemaker lead problems,” Needleman said. “Without leads, this pacemaker has no lead to break. In addition, there have been over 3,000 implants worldwide and no cases of the leadless pacemaker dislodging.”

The body tends to form a capsule over the new pacemaker, which reduces the infection rate. Needleman says the overall complication rate of the leadless pacemaker is about half that of a traditional pacemaker.

“There’s also no surgical scar,” Needleman added.

Patients who receive the new pacemakers take less time to recover after surgery. Traditional pacemakers require a six-week period of post-implant restrictions. Most patients who receive the leadless pacemakers get back to normal life just a week after surgery.

The device is also good for patients with dementia and memory issues who may not always remember to follow the post-surgical guidelines associated with typical pacemakers.

Since the leadless pacemaker is only approved for use in the right ventricle, they can currently only be used in patients who need single chamber ventricular pacemakers. That’s about ten to 20 percent of patients who need pacemakers.

“As the technology advances, we will likely be able to implant this device or future generations of this device in other chambers in the heart,” Needleman said.

Needleman believes the next generation of leadless pacemakers could service multiple chambers and he expects future leadless pacemaker to be able to work with defibrillators.

Surgeons at Walter Reed implanted the first leadless pacemaker in the Washington, D.C., area in November. In the few short months since, physicians there have since implanted more of the devices than any other single institution in the area.

“We are currently the only DoD hospital to implant the leadless pacemaker. With our experience, we are looking at strategies to expand implantation of these devices in patients with difficult vascular access,” Needleman said.

While the military did not invent the device, it is making a difference for the military community. Medicare has not finalized the reimbursement for the new innovation, so it has not been used in many patients across the country. However, the military does not have to wait for Medicare reimbursements, so Walter Reed’s doctors are able to use it.

“We can do what’s right for our patients now,” Needleman added.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

App helps Guard Soldiers prepare for physical fitness test

Article
10/4/2017
New app available through Guard Your Health will help Soldiers prepare for their physical fitness assessments. (U.S. Army photo)

Guard Your Health recently launched Guard Fit

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Technology | Health Readiness

TRICARE Online Patient Portal Mobile

Fact Sheet
10/2/2017

This fact sheet provides an overview of TRICARE Online Patient Portal (TOL PP) Mobile enabling beneficiaries to access TOL PP with any mobile device including smart phones. The fact sheet includes instructions on how to access TOL PP Mobile.

Recommended Content:

Technology

Medical Airman saves newborn minutes from death

Article
9/27/2017
Senior Airman Taylor Scherff, 55th Medical Group Pediatric Clinic medical technician, takes Isabelle Kittel’s temperature as her mom, Casey, holds her Sept. 12, 2017 in the Ehrling Bergquist Clinic, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake)

If Airman Scherff hadn’t caught the abnormalities in the baby when she first encountered her, the baby very likely would have passed away prior to receiving care

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

A Family's Smile

Video
9/27/2017
A Family's Smile

Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kerry Latham restored quality of life to Killian McKinney, a baby with a cleft lip and palate, during a plastic surgery procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda Md., Aug. 28, 2017. By treating McKinney, Latham supported the McKinney military family and enabled them to focus on the mission.

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

First cold storage platelet unit collected in Southwest Asia

Article
9/15/2017
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Flannigan, NCO in charge of the apheresis element with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group, monitors the Trima Accel Automated Blood Collection System machine used to obtain blood platelets from donors at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Apheresis element Airmen are tasked with collecting and storing platelet products and providing them for distribution throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti)

It is likely that cold storage platelets, a method developed by the military, will eventually be the standard practice around the world for handling and shipping platelets

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Health Readiness | Innovation

Combat medic students train using hologram technology

Article
9/7/2017
Alonzo Gonzales, a Combat Medic Program emergency medical technician course instructor, lectures students in Alpha Class 70-17 about different obstetrics complications  utilizing a specialized OB training manikin. The OB manikins resemble life-size pelvic cavities inside which the “fetus” can be positioned to replicate any number of complicated situations. (U.S. Army photo by Lisa Braun)

The Combat Medic Training program is the first METC program to incorporate hologram technology to augment training

Recommended Content:

Technology | Innovation

MHS GENESIS Postcard

Publication
9/5/2017

This postcard is for MHS GENESIS locations to provide to beneficiaries as introductory information.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | Military Health System Electronic Health Record | Technology

Training, technological synergy likely the key to future battlefield care scenarios

Article
8/30/2017
Soldiers from the 15th Brigade Support Battalion out of Fort Hood, Texas, provide treatment to the "wounded" during a mass casualty exercise, March 2, 2015. The training, taking place on Fort Irwin, California, is part of a National Training Center rotation scenario testing their ability to perform under a simulated combat environment. (Photo Credit: G. A. Volb)

Universal interoperability among technological devices and the development of an on-demand, on-call marketplace for continuous communication regardless of location key for prolonged care on the battlefield

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Technology

Possible cause for severe eczema has been found

Article
8/21/2017
Some patients living with severe eczema – a possible disqualifying factor for military service – have been found to have mutations on a gene called CARD11. Identified as a possible cause for the condition, the discovery can lead to exciting possibilities for advancements, according to the researchers.

Some patients living with severe eczema have been found to have mutations on a gene called CARD11 – Identified as a possible cause for the condition, the discovery can lead to exciting possibilities for advancements, according to the researchers

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Innovation | Warrior Care

Embedded Air Force researchers develop innovative battlefield medical technology

Article
8/18/2017
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bean, a pararescue jumper, demonstrates how BATDOK can be worn on the wrist, providing awareness of the health status of multiple patients. Developing BATDOK required Air Force medical researchers to embed with pararescue jumpers on live missions to ensure the tool met the rigorous standards required by combat Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force researchers developed a new electronic patient monitoring tool for use on the battlefield

Recommended Content:

Technology

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor first Navy hospital to pilot new electronic health record

Article
8/4/2017
Navy Seaman Joseph White and wife Lauren with their first child, Avalee. Avalee is the first infant born in a military hospital using the Department of Defense's new joint electronic health record, MHS GENESIS. (U.S. Navy photo by Patricia Rose)

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor was selected as the first Navy hospital to deploy MHS GENESIS, and has been successfully using the program since July 15

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS

DHITS 2017 Attendees Interviews - 4

Video
8/2/2017
DHITS 2017 Attendees Interviews - 4

The Defense Health Information Technology Symposium kicked off July 25 in Orlando, Fla., bringing together 3,000 health military health system representatives and health information technology vendors from around the world. This is the fourth of four videos where we stopped and asked attendees to tell us why this gathering is an important part of the ...

Recommended Content:

Technology

DHITS 2017 Attendees Interviews - 3

Video
8/1/2017
DHITS 2017 Attendees Interviews - 3

The Defense Health Information Technology Symposium kicked off July 25 in Orlando, Fla., bringing together 3,000 health military health system representatives and health information technology vendors from around the world. This is the third of four videos where we stopped and asked attendees to tell us why this gathering is an important part of the ...

Recommended Content:

Technology

DHITS 2017 Attendees Interviews - 2

Video
7/27/2017
DHITS 2017 Attendees Interviews - 2

The Defense Health Information Technology Symposium kicked off July 25 in Orlando, Fla., bringing together 3,000 health military health system representatives and health information technology vendors from around the world. This is the second of four videos where we stopped and asked attendees to tell us why this gathering is an important part of the ...

Recommended Content:

Technology

No Patient Left Behind

Photo
7/26/2017
Army Col. Rich Wilson (left) moderates a panel discussion with current and former program managers from the Defense Health Agency's Solution Delivery Division. The panel, titled No Patient Left Behind: Leveraging Partnerships for Change, discussed the importance of supporting patient care during modernization as the MHS transitions legacy applications to new systems. Focusing on enterprise planning, patient risk mitigation, and the balance of investment, the panel discussed the importance of positive government and vendor relationships and ways to apply past experiences to build strategies for success in the future.

Army Col. Rich Wilson (left) moderates a panel discussion with current and former program managers from the Defense Health Agency's Solution Delivery Division. The panel, titled No Patient Left Behind: Leveraging Partnerships for Change, discussed the importance of supporting patient care during modernization as the MHS transitions legacy applications ...

Recommended Content:

Technology
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 17

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.