Boston Scientific's new skin implant is less of a shock to the heart

August 30, 2013 by Sony Salzman

Boston Scientific’s under-the-skin implantable defibrillator proves a "viable alternative" to traditional implants that thread wires into the heart.

Boston Scientific's new skin implant is less of a shock to the heart

Unlike traditional cardiac defibrillation implants that place wires directly on the heart, Boston Scientific's (NYSE:BSX) under-the-skin implant promises to be less invasive while proving a "great asset" to patients, according to a study published in the American Heart Assn. journal Circulation.

The new device was shown to successfully restore normal heart rhythm without ever physically touching the heart, researchers reported, but the device also unnecessarily shocked 13% of study participants.

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Patients at high risk of sudden cardiac arrest are often implanted with traditional implantable defibrillators, which thread electrical wiring into the heart's nearby blood vessels to provide an immediate and life-saving shock to the heart. The new Boston Scientific implant, called a subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator, or S-ICD, uses a lead that is placed under the skin on the left side of the sternum.

"This new system was developed over a dozen years to combine some of the best aspects of traditional  implantable cardiac defibrillators and external defibrillators," Martin Burke, the study's lead author, said in prepared remarks.