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St. Francis first to perform minimal fluoroscopy pacemaker implant

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The St. Francis Electrophysiology team from left, Charles Benck, Heather Zaburski, Dr Eran Zacks, Heather Scully, and Keith Weinberg.
The St. Francis Electrophysiology team from left, Charles Benck, Heather Zaburski, Dr Eran Zacks, Heather Scully, and Keith Weinberg. - ()

St. Francis Medical Center electrophysiologist and Director of Complex Electrophysiology Dr. Eran Zacks has implanted a permanent pacemaker into five patients’ hearts without the use of fluoroscopy.

The Trenton-based medical center said that it’s the first reported time that a minimal fluoroscopy pacemaker implant procedure has taken place in the state.

Fluoroscopy, a type of “moving X-ray,” uses ionizing radiation to help a physician visualize where to place the leads of a pacemaker. Fluoroscopy is currently the traditional imaging modality for pacemaker implant.

Zacks used a 3D mapping system to visualize the placement of pacemaker leads. An off-label use of the 3D mapping, according to the medical center, which works with magnets and a catheter to create a 3D image of the heart’s chambers.

Each of the five cardiac patients had an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, that met standard criteria for pacemaker implantation and have since recovered and are doing well, according to the medical center.

“With rising concerns about the harmful effects of radiation exposure, I used 3D mapping as a safer alternative for our patient and clinicians,” said Zacks. “The ability to achieve the same result from this procedure—a patient doing well with a securely implanted pacemaker—with minimal use of fluoroscopy and no increased procedural duration or risks represents a possible new standard for cardiac device implantation, at St. Francis and beyond.”

Dr. Zacks said that this new minimal fluoroscopic approach deserves further investigation as a promising new standard.

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Anthony Vecchione

Anthony Vecchione covers health care for NJBIZ. You can contact him at: Avecchione@njbiz.com.

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