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Word of Honor - February 2024

February 2024

 

HonorHealth physicians secure FDA approval for leadless pacemakerHonorHealth physicians secure FDA approval for leadless pacemaker

February is Heart Month, a good time to learn about innovations in cardiac care happening at HonorHealth Research Institute. Recent clinical trials have led to FDA approval of a new leadless pacemaker that is highly effective and cosmetically preferred.

Doctors at HonorHealth Research Institute have for the first time implanted a potentially life-saving device designed to painlessly reset the heart’s rhythm in cases of ventricular fibrillation — when the heart starts beating wildly out of control.

On Monday, Nov. 7, 2023, HonorHealth was the first health system in the state to usher in a new era of pacemakers for patients with abnormal or slow heart rhythms thanks to the world’s first dual chamber leadless pacemaker. HonorHealth electrophysiologists, Rahul Doshi, MD and Ankur Karnik, MD, successfully completed the first commercial procedure at Scottsdale Shea Medical Center.

“What a difference this makes for our patients! We’re able to get this technology that is brand new and provides real benefit to our patients,” said Dr. Doshi.

Dr. Doshi was the principal investigator of the pacemaker's clinical trials at the HonorHealth Research Institute implanting the revolutionary device in 22 patients, enhancing patient well-being and quality of life. The clinical trial success helped secure FDA approval.

"This revolutionary dual chamber leadless pacemaker provides all the features of a standard pacemaker but is all self-contained in the heart and not visible on the upper chest. Apart from many advantages including lower infectious risk, patient satisfaction is higher for cosmetic reasons," added Dr. Karnik.

This new pacemaker, now available at HonorHealth, does not require a surgical incision or creation of a "pocket" under the skin, which eliminates a potential source of complications. Comparable in size to a large vitamin, the leadless pacemaker is cosmetically invisible after implantation and has an estimated 12-year battery life. Therapy is automatically adjusted by responding to patients' activity levels.

"The leadless pacemaker represents one of the most significant advances in pacing technology in decades," says Dr. Thomas Mattioni, medical director of electrophysiology and arrhythmia services at HonorHealth. "The extremely small size and implantation technique allows for very reliable pacing and eliminates the two weakest links in permanent pacing: the leads, which are the wires inside the heart that occasionally fail, and the pacemaker wound, which can become infected, heal poorly or present unacceptable cosmetic results.

"This is a first generation device in what promises to be ongoing technology development leading to improved options for the majority of patients who require cardiac pacing."

As one of the pioneering centers, HonorHealth is now the first hospital in Arizona to offer this innovative system to patients outside a clinical trial.


 

A pacemaker is an electronic device that sends small electrical impulses to the heart to correct certain kinds of irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). A standard pacemaker may have one, two or three leads — long, thin wires directly connected to the heart to monitor its rhythms. Once surgically implanted, a cardiologist connects the leads to the pacemaker's pulse generator, placed in a pocket created beneath the skin in the upper chest.

Now, HonorHealth Research Institute doctors are implanting a second device, a leadless pacemaker, into the heart’s right ventricle, the chamber of the heart that pumps blood directly to the lungs. This device is the size of a AAA battery and several low energy electrical pulses designed to stimulate the heart and return the heartbeat to a stable rhythm.

 

 

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Good Advice from HonorHealth orthopedic expertsGood Advice from HonorHealth orthopedic experts

For many people, this year brings a renewed commitment to healthy choices. But for some, jumping right into a new exercise program can lead to injuries, derailing your plans entirely.

What do HonorHealth orthopedic specialists recommend?

“Start slow to build your stamina,” is the advice of Victoria Eby, DO, a sports medicine physician affiliated with HonorHealth. “Dynamic stretching after you warm up and again following your workout will help your muscles recover.”

Varying your workout routine also helps avoid injuries.

“Our bodies like to be stressed in different ways,” explains Frank Moussa, MD, HonorHealth Orthopedics. “Change things up to make your workouts more enjoyable, productive and engaging. And in the end, you’ll have better physical conditioning and be less prone to repetitive overuse injuries.”

If you do experience worsening pain that doesn’t go away with rest, it’s time to see a doctor.

HonorHealth Orthopedics offers an integrate approach to orthopedic care, meaning that a variety of specialists are available, with a seamless referral process.

“I find that many patients delay talking with their doctors about their aches and pains to see if they will get better on their own and because they don’t want to have surgery,” says Dr. Moussa. “We always start with a complete analysis and nonsurgical treatment options. I find that 90 percent of the time, we can get our patients better without operating through physical therapy, injection therapy, medications and lifestyle modifications.”

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HonorHealth’s new Sports Medicine campus at Pima Center is slated to open in 2024. Different from a typical health club or fitness center, the focus is on prevention and treatment of chronic disease through regular participation in medically supervised physical activity, nutrition and health education.

The location will offer a wide variety of medical programs including sports medicine, orthopedics, neurology/concussion, dermatology and bariatrics.

HonorHealth CEO Todd LaPorte is excited for this new center.
“By bringing these services together under one roof, the campus will create an environment that is a focal point for the community to improve and maintain overall health.”

 

 

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Judy's painful neuropathy required a new approachJudy's painful neuropathy required a new approach

Judy went to see her family doctor after experiencing occasional pain and numbness in her feet for a few years. She worked her way through a variety of neurology appointments without much luck until she met Todd Levine, MD, neurologist and medical director of HonorHealth Neurology.

Extensive testing that included skin biopsy nerve studies revealed that Judy had severe small fiber neuropathy.

“Judy had painful neuropathy when I first met her,” explains Dr. Levine. “My hope was that correcting her metabolic syndrome could improve her condition.”

She was relieved when Dr. Levine spent an hour with her reviewing her files, discussing her lifestyle changes and answering her many questions.

“When I went to see Dr. Levine, he knew I was serious,” Judy explains. “It’s hard, because a lot of people I meet with neuropathy are not willing to change their diet or exercise. They just want a pill to make it go away.”

She was motivated to continue to do what she could to manage her condition through diet, exercise and supplements, including support from the staff at HonorHealth’s Bob Bové Neuroscience Institute Wellness Clinic. Her hard work and commitment to her health paid dividends, because after one year her symptoms improved and a repeat skin biopsy showed that her nerves had regrown and in fact were now normal.

Although she still experiences the occasional flare up, Judy has shown significant improvement and has reclaimed her life. “I just wish every person with neuropathy could see Dr. Levine,” she insists. “You don’t know how happy I am to be sitting here with a normal life again.”

 

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Ambrogio15 celebrates grand opening to benefit HonorHealthAmbrogio15 celebrates grand opening to benefit HonorHealth

Located in the Biltmore Fashion Park, Ambrogio15 is a modern Italian restaurant that brings the vibrant flavors of Italy to your table. Their diverse menu, curated by Michelin star Chef Silvio Salmoiraghi and Executive Chef Fabio Pizzigoni, offers a culinary journey featuring appetizers, crudos, steak, seafood, pasta and world famous pizzas.

Book your reservation and you’ll be helping to support the exceptional work of HonorHealth Foundation.