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Concept: Artificial pacemaker


Background The presence of a cardiovascular implantable electronic device has long been a contraindication for the performance of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We established a prospective registry to determine the risks associated with MRI at a magnetic field strength of 1.5 tesla for patients who had a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) that was “non-MRI-conditional” (i.e., not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for MRI scanning). Methods Patients in the registry were referred for clinically indicated nonthoracic MRI at a field strength of 1.5 tesla. Devices were interrogated before and after MRI with the use of a standardized protocol and were appropriately reprogrammed before the scanning. The primary end points were death, generator or lead failure, induced arrhythmia, loss of capture, or electrical reset during the scanning. The secondary end points were changes in device settings. Results MRI was performed in 1000 cases in which patients had a pacemaker and in 500 cases in which patients had an ICD. No deaths, lead failures, losses of capture, or ventricular arrhythmias occurred during MRI. One ICD generator could not be interrogated after MRI and required immediate replacement; the device had not been appropriately programmed per protocol before the MRI. We observed six cases of self-terminating atrial fibrillation or flutter and six cases of partial electrical reset. Changes in lead impedance, pacing threshold, battery voltage, and P-wave and R-wave amplitude exceeded prespecified thresholds in a small number of cases. Repeat MRI was not associated with an increase in adverse events. Conclusions In this study, device or lead failure did not occur in any patient with a non-MRI-conditional pacemaker or ICD who underwent clinically indicated nonthoracic MRI at 1.5 tesla, was appropriately screened, and had the device reprogrammed in accordance with the prespecified protocol. (Funded by St. Jude Medical and others; MagnaSafe number, NCT00907361 .).

Concepts: Cardiac electrophysiology, Electromagnetism, X-ray, Spin, Magnetic field, Artificial pacemaker, Magnetic resonance imaging, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator


The neuropeptide Pigment Dispersing Factor (PDF) is essential for normal circadian function in Drosophila. It synchronizes the phases of M pacemakers, while in E pacemakers it decelerates their cycling and supports their amplitude. The PDF receptor (PDF-R) is present in both M and subsets of E cells. Activation of PDF-R stimulates cAMP increases in vitro and in M cells in vivo. The present study asks: What is the identity of downstream signaling components that are associated with PDF receptor in specific circadian pacemaker neurons? Using live imaging of intact fly brains and transgenic RNAi, we show that adenylate cyclase AC3 underlies PDF signaling in M cells. Genetic disruptions of AC3 specifically disrupt PDF responses: they do not affect other Gs-coupled GPCR signaling in M cells, they can be rescued, and they do not represent developmental alterations. Knockdown of the Drosophila AKAP-like scaffolding protein Nervy also reduces PDF responses. Flies with AC3 alterations show behavioral syndromes consistent with known roles of M pacemakers as mediated by PDF. Surprisingly, disruption of AC3 does not alter PDF responses in E cells–the PDF-R(+) LNd. Within M pacemakers, PDF-R couples preferentially to a single AC, but PDF-R association with a different AC(s) is needed to explain PDF signaling in the E pacemakers. Thus critical pathways of circadian synchronization are mediated by highly specific second messenger components. These findings support a hypothesis that PDF signaling components within target cells are sequestered into “circadian signalosomes,” whose compositions differ between E and M pacemaker cell types.

Concepts: Artificial pacemaker, DNA, Adenosine triphosphate, In vivo, In vitro, Adenylate cyclase, Protein, Signal transduction


Image-guided endovascular interventions have gained increasing popularity in clinical practice, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is emerging as an attractive alternative to X-ray fluoroscopy for guiding such interventions. Steering catheters by remote control under MRI guidance offers unique challenges and opportunities.

Concepts: Artificial pacemaker, Angiography, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Radiography, X-ray, Radiology, Medical imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging


BACKGROUND: The efficacy and safety of rigid pericardial endoscopy as the promising minimally invasive approach to the pericardial space was evaluated. Techniques for cell transplantation, epicardial pacemaker lead implantation, and epicardial ablation were developed. METHODS: Two swine and 5 canines were studied to evaluate the safety and efficacy of rigid pericardial endoscopy. After a double pericardiocentesis, a transurethral rigid endoscope was inserted into the pericardial space. The technique to obtain a clear visual field was examined, and acute complications such as hemodynamic changes and the effects on intra-pericardial pressure were evaluated. Using custom-made needles, pacemaker leads, and forceps, the applications for cell transplantation, epicardial pacemaker lead implantation, and epicardial ablation were also evaluated. RESULTS: The use of air, the detention of a stiff guide wire in the pericardial space, and the stretching of the pericardium with the rigid endoscope were all useful to obtain a clear visual field. A side-lying position also aided observation of the posterior side of the heart. As a cell transplantation methodology, we developed an ultrasonography-guided needle, which allows for the safe visualization of transplantation without major complications. Pacemaker leads were safely and properly implanted, which provides a better outcome for cardiac resynchronizing therapy. Furthermore, the success of clear visualization of the pulmonary veins enabled us to perform epicardial ablation. CONCLUSIONS: Rigid pericardial endoscopy holds promise as a safe method for minimally invasive cell transplantation, epicardial pacemaker lead implantation, and epicardial ablation by allowing clear visualization of the pericardial space.

Concepts: Optical fiber, Effectiveness, Safety, Pericardium, Minimally invasive, Artificial pacemaker, Endoscopy, Heart


Persistent left superior vena cava (PLSVC) is present in about 0.3%-0.5% of the general population and in about 12% of patients with other abnormalities [1]. This congenital anomaly is usually asymptomatic and does not cause any physiological problems. However, it may become a significant problem in multiple clinical situations. Various complications related to PLVSC are encountered in anaesthesiological, nephrological, oncological and cardiological procedures. The presence of PLSVC is usually incidentally detected during placement of pacemaker (PM), implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) leads. Technical difficulties during lead positioning (especially ventricular leads) are commonly known and often described in the literature. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the specific methods used for implantation of increasingly complicated pacing systems, finding an optimal strategy in patients with PLSVC, especially with electrotherapy complications.

Concepts: Cardiac electrophysiology, Vein, Transcutaneous pacing, Superior vena cava, Artificial pacemaker, Magnetic resonance imaging, Inferior vena cava, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator


Background A leadless intracardiac transcatheter pacing system has been designed to avoid the need for a pacemaker pocket and transvenous lead. Methods In a prospective multicenter study without controls, a transcatheter pacemaker was implanted in patients who had guideline-based indications for ventricular pacing. The analysis of the primary end points began when 300 patients reached 6 months of follow-up. The primary safety end point was freedom from system-related or procedure-related major complications. The primary efficacy end point was the percentage of patients with low and stable pacing capture thresholds at 6 months (≤2.0 V at a pulse width of 0.24 msec and an increase of ≤1.5 V from the time of implantation). The safety and efficacy end points were evaluated against performance goals (based on historical data) of 83% and 80%, respectively. We also performed a post hoc analysis in which the rates of major complications were compared with those in a control cohort of 2667 patients with transvenous pacemakers from six previously published studies. Results The device was successfully implanted in 719 of 725 patients (99.2%). The Kaplan-Meier estimate of the rate of the primary safety end point was 96.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93.9 to 97.3; P<0.001 for the comparison with the safety performance goal of 83%); there were 28 major complications in 25 of 725 patients, and no dislodgements. The rate of the primary efficacy end point was 98.3% (95% CI, 96.1 to 99.5; P<0.001 for the comparison with the efficacy performance goal of 80%) among 292 of 297 patients with paired 6-month data. Although there were 28 major complications in 25 patients, patients with transcatheter pacemakers had significantly fewer major complications than did the control patients (hazard ratio, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.75; P=0.001). Conclusions In this historical comparison study, the transcatheter pacemaker met the prespecified safety and efficacy goals; it had a safety profile similar to that of a transvenous system while providing low and stable pacing thresholds. (Funded by Medtronic; Micra Transcatheter Pacing Study number, NCT02004873 .).

Concepts: Goal, Post-hoc analysis, Point, Earl Bakken, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, Medtronic, Transcutaneous pacing, Artificial pacemaker


Background Cardiac pacemakers are limited by device-related complications, notably infection and problems related to pacemaker leads. We studied a miniaturized, fully self-contained leadless pacemaker that is nonsurgically implanted in the right ventricle with the use of a catheter. Methods In this multicenter study, we implanted an active-fixation leadless cardiac pacemaker in patients who required permanent single-chamber ventricular pacing. The primary efficacy end point was both an acceptable pacing threshold (≤2.0 V at 0.4 msec) and an acceptable sensing amplitude (R wave ≥5.0 mV, or a value equal to or greater than the value at implantation) through 6 months. The primary safety end point was freedom from device-related serious adverse events through 6 months. In this ongoing study, the prespecified analysis of the primary end points was performed on data from the first 300 patients who completed 6 months of follow-up (primary cohort). The rates of the efficacy end point and safety end point were compared with performance goals (based on historical data) of 85% and 86%, respectively. Additional outcomes were assessed in all 526 patients who were enrolled as of June 2015 (the total cohort). Results The leadless pacemaker was successfully implanted in 504 of the 526 patients in the total cohort (95.8%). The intention-to-treat primary efficacy end point was met in 270 of the 300 patients in the primary cohort (90.0%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 86.0 to 93.2, P=0.007), and the primary safety end point was met in 280 of the 300 patients (93.3%; 95% CI, 89.9 to 95.9; P<0.001). At 6 months, device-related serious adverse events were observed in 6.7% of the patients; events included device dislodgement with percutaneous retrieval (in 1.7%), cardiac perforation (in 1.3%), and pacing-threshold elevation requiring percutaneous retrieval and device replacement (in 1.3%). Conclusions The leadless cardiac pacemaker met prespecified pacing and sensing requirements in the large majority of patients. Device-related serious adverse events occurred in approximately 1 in 15 patients. (Funded by St. Jude Medical; LEADLESS II number, NCT02030418 .).

Concepts: Left ventricle, Right ventricle, Transcutaneous pacing, Clinical trial, Ventricle, Heart, Cardiac pacemaker, Artificial pacemaker


The heartbeat originates within the sinoatrial node (SAN), a small structure containing <10,000 genuine pacemaker cells. If the SAN fails, the ∼5 billion working cardiomyocytes downstream of it become quiescent, leading to circulatory collapse in the absence of electronic pacemaker therapy. Here we demonstrate conversion of rodent cardiomyocytes to SAN cells in vitro and in vivo by expression of Tbx18, a gene critical for early SAN specification. Within days of in vivo Tbx18 transduction, 9.2% of transduced, ventricular cardiomyocytes develop spontaneous electrical firing physiologically indistinguishable from that of SAN cells, along with morphological and epigenetic features characteristic of SAN cells. In vivo, focal Tbx18 gene transfer in the guinea-pig ventricle yields ectopic pacemaker activity, correcting a bradycardic disease phenotype. Myocytes transduced in vivo acquire the cardinal tapering morphology and physiological automaticity of native SAN pacemaker cells. The creation of induced SAN pacemaker (iSAN) cells opens new prospects for bioengineered pacemakers.

Concepts: Cardiac anatomy, Cardiac electrophysiology, Cardiology, Artificial pacemaker, Gene, Sinoatrial node, Heart, Cardiac pacemaker


Radiation therapy’s (RT’s) effects on cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) such as implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers (PMs) are not well established, leading to device removal or relocation in preparation for RT.

Concepts: Cardiac electrophysiology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Artificial pacemaker, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator


BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of the magnetic resonance (MR) conditional pacemaker (PM) system (Evia SR-T and DR-T with Safio S leads) under MR conditions. METHODS: Patients with standard PM indications and Evia PM were eligible for enrollment in this single center prospective non-randomized pilot study. Patients underwent MR of the brain and lower lumbar spine at 1.5 Tesla. Atrial (RA) und ventricular (RV) lead parameters (sensing, pacing threshold [PTH], pacing impedance) were assessed immediately before (baseline follow-up [FU]) and immediately after MRI (1st FU), after 1 month (2nd FU) and 3 months (3rd FU). The effect of MR on serious adverse device effect (SADE) free-rate, on atrial and ventricular sensing (AS/VS; mV) and atrial (RA) and ventricular (RV) pacing thresholds (PTH; V/0.4 ms) were investigated between baseline and 2nd FU. Continuous variables are expressed as mean +/- SD and were compared using paired Student’s t-test. A p < 0.05 was considered significant. RESULTS: Thirty-one patients were enrolled. One patient had to be excluded because of an enrollment violation. Therefore, data of 30 patients (female 12 [40%], age 73 +/- 12 years, dual chamber PM 15 [50%]) were included in this analysis. No MR related SADE occurred. Lead measurements were not statistically different between the baseline FU and the 2nd FU (AS/VS at baseline 3.2 +/- 2.1/15.0 +/- 6.0, at 2nd FU 3.2 +/- 2.1/14.9 +/- 6.5; p = ns. RA-PTH/RV-PTH at baseline 0.68 +/- 0.18/0.78 +/- 0.22, at 2nd FU 0.71 +/- 0.24/0.78 +/- 0.22; p = ns). The presence of the permanent pacemakers led to MR imaging artifacts on diffusion weighted sequences of the brain, but did not affect other sequences (e.g. FLAIR and T2 weighted spin-echo images). CONCLUSION: The use of the MR conditional Evia PM in a MR environment under predefined conditions is feasible. No MR related SADEs nor clinically relevant changes in device functions occurred.

Concepts: Nuclear magnetic resonance, Transcutaneous pacing, Student's t-test, Statistics, Brain, Lumbar vertebrae, Magnetic resonance imaging, Artificial pacemaker