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NEW PACEMAKER IMPLANTED AT BOWMAN GRAY/BAPTIST HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER

NEW PACEMAKER IMPLANTED AT BOWMAN GRAY/BAPTIST HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER
 WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Doctors at the Bowman Gray/Baptist Hospital Medical Center have implanted a new kind of pacemaker expected to last twice as long as some existing models.
 Because the new pacemakers last longer and prevent slippage from body movement, they could greatly reduce the medical bills for some pacemaker wearers.
 Dr. George H. Crossley III, assistant professor of internal medicine (cardiology), said that surgeons installed the first of the new pacemakers March 30.
 The device, developed by Medtronic Inc. of Minneapolis, Minn., is the first so-called "active|" pacemaker lead to excrete a steroid drug
 Today's pacemakers either use an active or passive system of leads -- the wires that deliver the electrical current to the heart's chambers
 Passive leads lie in the heart and are held in place by the muscle growing around them. Steroids have improved their performance, although passive leads can become dislodged from the heart with body movement. Active fixation leads are held in place by screws into the heart's lining and almost never fall out.
 Crossley said that the new steroid-excreting active lead should last as long as the passive lead without the problems of slippage.
 "With this lead, fewer patients will get the passive fixation lead because this will be much more reliable," he said. "The reason now to put passive leads in the upper chamber is longevity. "And with the new active lead, that will no longer be an issue."
 The Medical Center is one of only 20 centers in the country authorized to test the new pacemaker wiring technology developed by Medtronic, Crossley said.
 Until now, active leads have not performed as well as passive models because a fibrous capsule of tissue formed around them when the heart reacted to the screws.
 "That makes it harder to get the electrical impulse into the heart," Crossley said. "How the lead works determines how long the pacemaker will last and how much electricity it will use."
 Crossley said that the Medtronic device's steroid prevents the tissue capsule from forming.
 The practical benefits for patients wearing pacemakers with active leads is extended wear and reduced cost.
 "The new active leads should last 10 years rather than five," Crossley said. "That represents a savings of about $10,000 for the patient."
 Crossley said that he hopes to test the new active leads in 40 patients by next April. That's when Medtronic begins the second phase of its research and expands the number of centers allowed to use the leads.
 Assisting Crossley in the research project at Bowman Gray are cardiologists Dr. David M. Fitzgerald and Dr. Wesley K. Haisty Jr., and cardiothoracic surgeons Dr. Stephen L. Wallenhaupt and Dr. Neal Kon.
 -0- 4/9/92
 /CONTACT: Wayne Thompson, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, 919-748-2415/ CO: Bowman Gray School of Medicine ST: North Carolina IN: MTC HEA SU:


CM -- CH007 -- 6896 04/09/92 15:36 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 9, 1992
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