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Breakthrough Heart Technology Is the First in MA: The Dual-Chamber Wireless Pacemaker

February 20, 2024

Karen Pekowitz was a college student when she was diagnosed with a heart condition. At just 19 years old, Karen had a pacemaker implanted to manage her illness.

Over the years, she has needed several follow-up surgeries to remove old wires or replace batteries. Now a busy teacher and mother, Karen was hopeful for interventions that would be more effective while requiring less maintenance.

When Karen arrived for her surgery at Tufts Medical Center in January 2024, she knew she would be making history.

In July 2023, the United States Food and Drug Administration granted approval of the world's first dual-chamber wireless, or leadless, pacemaker. Karen would be the first patient in Massachusetts to benefit from this cutting-edge technology, and Guy Rozen, MD, Tufts MC's co-director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, Director of Afib Management, and Electrophysiologist, would be the first surgeon in Massachusetts to implant it.

Dr. Rozen + a team from Abbott, the manufacturer of this new pacemaker, executed this breakthrough procedure without incident.

Using a specialized catheter, inserted through Karen's groin and threaded into her heart, they placed the pacemaker without surgical incision. Once in place, the pacemaker was synchronized and revealed an exciting discovery – it required minimal power to function. This exciting development means that Karen's new pacemaker could last up to a decade, giving her a much-needed respite from frequent and sometimes risky surgeries.

The very next day, Karen was recovering at home + already feeling a positive difference in her energy levels.

She knows this new-found energy will have a positive impact on her life, saying, "I can get myself in much better shape, and I can just have the energy I need to keep up with my children." Dr. Rozen is equally thrilled about this revolutionary advancement that promises to positively impact the lives of his patients. "Being able to do these minimally invasive procedures with the significantly lower risk for complications over time is something that is a great advancement in our field," he said. Dr. Rozen and his team have truly embraced our Tufts Medicine mission: to empower people to live their best lives by reimagining healthcare, advancing knowledge and pioneering discovery.

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