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First FDA approved subcutaneous implantable defibrillator available for patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest

CHICAGO, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops pumping blood. When this occurs, blood stops flowing to the brain and other major organs. Recent estimates show that approximately 850,000 people in the United States are at risk of SCA, and most of the people who have SCA, die from it. But, rapid treatment of SCA by using an implantable defibrillator can be lifesaving.

On September 28th, 2012, the FDA approved the world's first totally subcutaneous implantable defibrillator (S-ICD). Northwestern's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is one of the first 20 institutions in the country to have access to this technology. Since FDA approval, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is one of the first ten places to implant in the U.S.

"The S-ICD system provides physicians with a new treatment option for patients who are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest," said Bradley Knight, MD, electrophysiologist and medical director of the Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders. "The system sits entirely below the skin without requiring the need for placing wires in the heart, which leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched." 

The Boston Scientific S-ICD® System has two main components. One is called the pulse generator, which powers the system, monitors heart activity and delivers a shock if needed. The other main component is the electrode. This enables the device to sense the heart rhythm and deliver shocks when necessary. Both are implanted just under the skin, providing protection without touching the heart and reliable defibrillation without transvenous wires.

"Patients who previously could not undergo the implantation of a transvenous defibrillator, now have a device option to protect them from deadly arrhythmias," said Dr. Knight.

The S-ICD system is commercially available in many countries in Europe as well as New Zealand. More than 1,400 devices have been implanted in patients around the world.

Northwestern Medicine® is the shared vision that joins Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and the Feinberg School in a collaborative effort to transform medicine through quality healthcare, academic excellence and scientific discovery.

For more information about the subcutaneous implantable defibrillator and other services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, or to schedule an appointment, please call 312-926-0779 or visit us online at

About Northwestern Memorial HealthCare

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare is the parent corporation of Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, an 894-bed academic medical center hospital and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, a 205-bed community hospital located in Lake Forest, Illinois.

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital has 1,705 affiliated physicians and 6,769 employees.  Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial has nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence.  And, Northwestern Memorial ranks 12th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2012 Honor Roll of "America's Best Hospitals". The hospital is ranked in 12 of 16 clinical specialties rated by U.S. News and is No. 1 in Illinois and Chicago in U.S. News' 2012 state and metro rankings, respectively. For 13 years running, Northwestern Memorial has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 13 years. 

SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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