Features January 2015 Issue

Cleveland Clinic’s 2015 Innovations Include Heart-Health Breakthroughs

Small experimental pacemakers without leads can be implanted in one of the ventricles of the heart (above) and help patients with arrhythmias maintain a steady rhythm.

Cleveland Clinic’s 2015 Innovations Include Heart-Health Breakthroughs

A tiny implantable pacemaker, new medications, and a mobile stroke unit are among the items on the annual list of medical advancements.

The typical pacemaker is about the size of a silver dollar, with a thin, flexible wire, or lead, that runs to the heart. But a new pacemaker is being studied that is not only much smaller than the current devices, but it works without wires. The leadless pacemaker is one of the 10 items on Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovations for 2015.

But a new pacemaker is being studied that is not only much smaller than the current devices, but it works without wires. The leadless pacemaker is one of the 10 items on Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovations for 2015.

Every year, Cleveland Clinic experts compile a list of breakthroughs expected to make headlines in the coming year. The 2015 list includes several innovations related to heart health. Along with the leadless pacemaker, the list includes new cholesterol medications, a new drug for heart failure patients, and a mobile stroke unit that better connects paramedics and in-hospital neurologists for more rapid treatment of stroke patients.

The tiny pacemakers are undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. this year. The two manufacturers of the devices are Medtronic, Inc. and St. Jude Medical, Inc. The St. Jude wireless pacemaker is available in Europe. “These devices are amazingly small for pacemakers—compact and effective,” says Bruce L. Wilkoff MD, director of Cardiac Pacing & Tachyarrhythmia Devices at Cleveland Clinic.

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