Pacemaker installed without surgery - NBC40.net

Pacemaker installed without surgery

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The phrase "big things come in small packages" applies to the latest medical advance out of Scripps Memorial Hospital.

Now a wireless pacemaker can be installed "without" surgery.

83 year old Nina Korabelnikov is a trail blazer.

Comparing herself to Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin the first human to venture into space - she and Electrophysiologist Steven Higgins were on opposite ends of a 45 minute procedure to install a pacemaker to help steady her heart.

"So I don't expect you to have anymore of that dizziness or fainting or light headed spells or that racing you were having."

But unlike your grandma's bulky pacemaker with wires - this one is tiny, ten times smaller.

"About every 20 years or so we have a major advance like this in medicine."

Higgins guided the pacemaker through a vein in Nina's groin all the way up to the right ventricle of her heart - where like a space station it undocked to live for the next 9 to 18 years.

"The achilles heal for pacemakers forever has been this long lead that goes under the collar bone that gets injured, goes into the blood vessel, into the heart, moves with each heart beat, gets stressed and wears out long before the battery is due," says Dr. Steven Higgins.

No surgery - means no 2 inch incision and scar above Nina's collarbone and a quicker recovery.

"You don't have to stay overnight you can go home when your daughter comes to pick you up today."

"Many medical advances are hard to understand, but you show em' this little one versus the big one, which one do you want? People figure that out pretty quickly."

Just in San Diego alone they expect about 600 more of these procedures to be performed before the FDA makes a decision on approval.

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