Cardiologist Petr Neužil and cardiac surgeon Ivo Skalský performed the procedure on Friday, the first in the Czech Republic. The so-called implantable defibrillator, i.e. one that is permanently inserted into the patient’s body, is a device similar to a pacemaker. It is used to treat cardiac arrhythmias and to prevent sudden death.
As standard, wires and electrodes are inserted under the collarbone directly into the vascular system, primarily into the right atrium or right ventricle.
The new system – the extravascular cardioverter-defibrillator (EV-ICD) – on the other hand, is placed under the left arm and the defibrillation electrode under the sternum very close to the heart. A minimally invasive approach, i.e. occupying less space with a lower risk of damage to the surrounding tissue, makes it possible to prevent complications such as heart perforation (in layman’s terms), blockage of blood vessels or infection compared to the old one.
“The new Ev-ICD system is intended for patients who are at risk of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and who have not had a previous sternotomy (chest surgery) and do not need permanent bradycardic (abnormally slow heartbeat) pacing,” says Neužil, head of the cardiology department.
The EV-ICD has regular dimensions but also weighs less, which doubles its lifespan – up to an estimated 11.7 years. The electrode presses directly on the surface of the heart, which is made possible by its double ace-shaped curvature.
From October 2023, the first implantations of the EV-ICD system will take place in selected European cardiac centers, the first in the Czech Republic took place in the Na Homolce Hospital Cardiocenter, where they also participated in the development of the latest type of defibrillator, with the aim of expanding to other cardiac centers in the Czech Republic.