US-based medical device company St Jude Medical has announced the first post-approval implant of the Nanostim leadless pacemaker at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the UK.

Professor Richard Schilling implanted the Nanostim leadless pacemaker in London in a procedure that took just eight minutes to perform.

Unlike conventional pacemakers that require a more invasive surgery, the Nanostim leadless pacemaker is designed to be implanted directly into the heart via a minimally invasive procedure.

The device is delivered using a steerable catheter through the femoral vein, eliminating the need to surgically create a pocket for the pacemaker and insulated wires.

Implanted via the femoral vein with a steerable catheter, the Nanostim leadless pacemaker was designed to be fully retrievable so that the device can be readily repositioned during the implant procedure and later retrieved if necessary such as at the time of normal battery replacement.

The Nanostim leadless pacemaker is less than 10% the size of a conventional pacemaker. Its small size and lack of a surgical pocket, coupled with the exclusion of a lead, improves patient comfort and can reduce complications, including device pocket-related infection and lead failure.

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"Physicians will now be able to offer patients a device that upholds the accuracy of conventional pacemaker technology via a minimally invasive procedure."

According to the company, elimination of the visible lump and scar at a conventional pacemaker’s implant site, in addition to the removal of patient activity restrictions that may prevent the dislodgement or damage to a conventional lead, will potentially improve the quality of life for patients with this technology by allowing most to continue living active, uninhibited lifestyles.

The St Jude Medical Merlin Programmer is also used to interrogate and programme the company’s other pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators; it supports the Nanostim leadless pacemaker.

St Jude Medical UK vice-president Paul Turner said: "By providing a smaller, leadless pacing technology, physicians will now be able to offer patients a device that upholds the accuracy of conventional pacemaker technology via a minimally invasive procedure. We are pleased to offer this novel cardiac pacing technology to physicians and patients in the UK."

The CE Marked Nanostim leadless pacemaker is now available in select European markets but is not available for sale in the US.

Image: St Jude Medical announces implantation of Nanostim leadless pacemaker. Photo: courtesy of Businesswire / St Jude Medical Inc.