Ventricular arrhythmias: New solutions for deadly heart conditions

14th May 2019

The new Rivacor device

The first emerging market regions implantation of the world’s smallest smart device to control heart beats and pumping action was performed yesterday by Dr Gopal and his team at the Cape Town AF Centre, Panorama hospital, Cape Town.

 These devices, known as Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD), are increasingly being used worldwide and also in developing countries, predominately for the management of life-threatening cardiac rhythm disorders.

The Cape Town AF Centre with its experience of using these devices and its leading role in teaching doctors about electrophysiology, implanted this device in a 77yr old patient with ischaemic cardiomyopathy (poor cardiac function due to coronary artery disease). He has had a successful ablation of his ventricular tachycardia with Dr. Gopal.

The new device, produced by Biotronik, has only recently been introduced in Europe, so this South African application has occurred very early in the introduction of this medical device worldwide.

Unique features of this heart-support device are its greater longevity, reliability and ease of implantation; these are very important attributes in developing environments. The battery of the ICD device lasts for up to 15 years. The more sophisticated device which offers synchronisation of heart chamber pump action plus a ‘shock/defibrillation’ function has a battery which lasts for up to 9 years.

This ultra slim and bio shaped device (10mm) is smart and can provide information directly to the clinic or doctor’s surgery remotely. It can also be kept working while full or partial body scans are done for diagnosis of other diseases.

Dr. Gopal’s unit remains one of the leading centres for management of cardiac arrhythmias on the African continent and he feels that the addition of the new platform of devices is in keeping the centre’s motto that “with innovation, comes cure”.