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Pacemakers and Implantable Devices

Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are often an important part of arrhythmia treatment. At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s Center for Cardiovascular Health, you have access to the most advanced cardiac devices available. 

You receive care from leading experts who recommend the device that fits your lifestyle and medical needs. And no matter where you are, you’re always in expert hands with our remote cardiac monitoring.

Pacemakers and implantable cardiac devices: Why choose us?

Our electrophysiology team provides exceptional care for all types of cardiac devices. When you see our specialists, you benefit from:

  • Expert team: You can be confident in the care you receive from our electrophysiologists. Our team members have pioneered new arrhythmia devices, including conduction system pacing to treat heart failure and left bundle branch block. Meet our team.
  • Latest technology: You have access to the most advanced cardiac devices available. We offer leadless (wireless) pacemakers, which are significantly smaller than traditional pacemakers and don’t need chest incisions. 
  • Exceptional remote monitoring: We’re always monitoring your heart and device, even when you’re far away. Our remote cardiac monitoring system detects potential issues before you even feel them — and alerts our team immediately.
  • Laser lead extraction: Removing leads from a previous pacemaker or ICD can be complex due to scarring. Our specialists are among the few who perform laser lead extraction to safely remove these leads.

Pacemaker and ICD services we provide

Our specialists provide a whole-person approach to treating arrhythmias. We look at your overall health, lifestyle and cause of the arrhythmia. If a pacemaker or ICD may help you, we explain your options and answer your questions. Our specialists are skilled in providing:

  • If your heartbeat is too slow, your doctor might recommend a pacemaker. This device uses low-level electrical pulses to help regulate your heart rhythm. A leadless pacemaker is a small, thin, cylinder-shaped device. It has no leads (wires) or separate generator under the skin, as does a traditional pacemaker. Our specialists place the device in the heart’s right upper chamber (atrium) or lower chamber (ventricle) using minimally invasive catheter techniques. You cannot see or feel the pacemaker once it’s in place.

    Our team members were involved in the trials and development of these innovative devices. Leadless pacemakers are up to 90% smaller than traditional pacemakers and do not require wires.

  • Some types of arrhythmias may benefit from placing leads in different areas of your heart. Also called cardiac physiologic pacing, conduction system pacing works with your heart’s natural pacing system. Our specialists place leads that use your own electrical system to stimulate your heart naturally. This innovative treatment is offered only at leading electrophysiology programs. We are experts in this area and have taught numerous physicians across the globe how to perform this procedure.

    We provide the most advanced conduction system pacing options, including:

    • His bundle pacing: This complex procedure regulates the cells that activate your heart’s lower chambers, known as your His-Purkinje system.
    • Left bundle branch pacing: This innovative pacing technique can treat left bundle branch block, an arrhythmia that can cause a slow heart rate.
  • If you are at risk of a dangerously fast heartbeat, you may need an ICD. Our specialists provide ICDs for detecting and stopping life-threatening arrhythmias that occur in the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles). ICDs use an electrical current to shock or reset the heart back into a normal rhythm.

    Our team is highly experienced in traditional and subcutaneous ICDs. Both devices consist of a battery-powered pulse generator and leads (wires) with electrodes. They differ according to where they are placed.

    • Traditional ICD: The generator is placed below the collarbone, and leads are implanted within one or more heart chambers. 
    • Subcutaneous ICD: The generator is placed under the skin below the armpit. The attached wire runs along the breastbone rather than into heart chambers. Since the entire device is implanted just under your skin, it’s a less invasive procedure with wires that are outside your heart.

    Each device has its advantages, and what’s best for you depends on your specific diagnosis. We use our knowledge of arrhythmias to recommend a device that provides long-lasting and reliable protection.

  • Your care doesn’t stop once your device is in place. Our advanced remote monitoring system monitors your pacemaker or ICD 24 hours a day.

    You don’t need an office visit or even a phone call to report a problem with your cardiac device. Our remote monitoring system ensures your device is working properly and your heart rhythm is normal. If the system senses any issues, it notifies our team right away.

  • ICD or traditional pacemaker leads may need to be removed and replaced after 10 to 15 years. Removing them requires a surgical procedure that can be difficult due to surrounding scar tissue and other factors, such as infection. 

    Our specialists are among the few regional cardiac teams performing laser lead extraction. This procedure is a safer and more effective way to remove leads. With laser lead extraction, the power of a precise laser removes scar tissue and allows for easier removal of the leads. You also have small incisions for a faster recovery and a lower risk of complications.

Contact us

Our electrophysiology team provides the full range of pacemakers and cardiac devices.