Wireless pacemakers could soon be standard

The first implantation of a wireless pacemaker in the U.S. took place less than a year ago, but cardiologists and patients alike already seem sold on the technology. "I truly believe the wireless pacemaker will become the industry standard within the next few years," Dr. David Mulholland, a cardiologist with the Jackson (Miss.) Heart Clinic, tells the local Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

Mulholland is said to have performed the first wireless pacemaker implantation in Mississippi last July, a St. Jude Medical Accent RF device with radio-frequency telemetry. "Using the remote monitoring capabilities, we can more efficiently follow patients' conditions. At the same time, patients can enjoy the convenience of care from home," he said in a press release, the paper reports.

The technology is particularly useful for the elderly, who often have difficulty not only getting to the doctor's office, but also communicating with their physicians. However, even younger patients find the devices convenient. "Instead of me going every three months for a checkup, [Mulholland] will analyze it maybe once a year," says 39-year-old pacemaker recipient Eydie Cavin of Natchez, Miss. "Usually, it's about two hours for me to travel. I never minded it, but the expense and sometimes just getting the energy level up to travel is hard. It's going to be such a good situation for us."

For more about the potential of wireless pacemakers:
- check out this story in the Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.)