For many years pacemakers have been used to stimulate the heart when the heart rate becomes too slow. There have been continuing advances in pacemaker technology over recent years and now we are about to see the introduction of a unique device called the 'Nanostim Pacemaker'. This is a much smaller pacemaker which is inserted via a groin vein directly into the pumping chamber of the heart. Conventional pacemakers which are placed deep under the skin of the chest wall are still relatively large in size and use pacing wires which can sometimes become damaged. The Nanostim Pacemaker is attached directly onto the internal wall of the heart chamber and has the advantage of not needing pacing wires. It has a battery which will last about 10 years depending on usage and it can be removed via the femoral vein.
This exciting development in technology will start to be used very soon across Europe including the UK. As with any new medical development it is likely that its use will start with a few centres for ongoing monitoring before being rolled out on a wider scale.
Answered by Dr A Wright.
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