It's about the size of a match box but it could save your life.
A brand new heart defibrillator is the reason the Cardiology Center of Amarillo is the second of only 200 centers in the U.S. to be chosen to launch the largest device trial in history.
"The device is simply an implantable cardiac defibrillator. It's a small device that is implanted under the skin up in the left chest . The device monitors the patient for fast fatal rhythms and if they were to develop a rhythm it would shock the heart or pace the heart back into a normal rhythm ", said Dr. Coty Jewell with the Cardiology Center of Amarillo.
It's a lot like a regular defibrillator, but Dr. Jewell explains this device notifies the patient of those irregular rhythms. Of course, the ultimate goal of this device and this study is to save more lives.
"Hopefully what we're able to do with this device is to take people who are at risk for having heart disease, blockages in their arteries and heart attacks and giving them an alert so they can respond to the ER quicker before they have a heart attack", explained Dr. Jewell.
Dr. Jewell says he has already implanted one of the new devices in his first patient in the study. Three more patients are scheduled to have the same procedure during the month of September and, through the course of the study, each patient will be monitored for two years afterwards.
The medical advancement itself is a positive for Amarillo and having the CCA chosen for the study, Jewell says, is just a plus.
"This is the largest device trial is history by a long ways and we were the first selection in the Western half of the U.S., so I think that this puts us, at least in the EP world, on the map if you will", said Dr. Jewell.
T he clinical trial is set to last for five years and is sponsored by St. Jude Medical.
T he last actual implantation will be done in the third year since each patient will be followed and monitored for two years after their operations.