New procedure at Gwinnett Medical lowers risk of sudden cardiac arrest

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett Medical Center has become the second hospital in Georgia, and the first in north metro Atlanta, to conduct a subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator procedure.

Recently approved by the FDA, hospital representatives said SICD has advantages over the conventional implanted defibrillators in that it does not require a wire to be placed into the heart. As with any mechanical device, the wire can get infected, break or dislodge. Putting in the wire into the heart initially has additional risks, as does removing a damaged or dislodged wire.

While conventional implanted defibrillators have been in use for years, and are still necessary in some cases, Dr. Niraj Sharma, a GMC cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist, said, “This alternative is particularly useful for patients with compromised vascular access or younger patients who may require multiple defibrillators during their lifetime.”

“Prevention is better,” Sharma said. “We can use an implanted defibrillator to maintain a normal rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac arrest.”