In Cardiology

People with heart failure are set to benefit from longer-lasting battery technology in implantable heart rhythm devices, following guidance from NICE.

The longer-lasting battery means patients need fewer operations to replace it, which is more convenient for them and saves the NHS money.

The guidance supports the use of ENDURALIFE-powered cardiac resynchronisation therapy-defibrillator (CRT-D) devices (Boston Scientific) for patients with a type of heart failure that affects the ability of the left chamber of the heart – the ventricle – to pump enough oxygenated blood around the body.

A CRT-D is a small battery powered device that is put into the upper chest below the left shoulder. Leads from the device go through a vein into the heart to control the rate (pace) of the heartbeat. They continually monitor for an irregular heartbeat, and deliver a small electric shock to return the heartbeat to its normal rhythm (defibrillate) if necessary.

Professor Carole Longson, Director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, explained, ’Having a longer battery life for CRT-D devices helps improve patient experience by increasing the time between replacements, meaning fewer overall replacement surgeries.

‘It could also mean a reduction in healthcare costs for replacement surgery, such as hospital admissions and bed days, as well as a reduction in complications such as infections, which are higher in replacement surgery.’

NICE estimates that over 3,000 patients will potentially benefit from the technology each year, saving the NHS around £6 million over five years through fewer operations to replace the devices.

People with heart failure have an increased risk of developing life-threatening irregular heartbeat and sudden cardiac death is the most common cause of death in people with mild to moderate heart failure.

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