Australian-first heart implant at MonashHeart offers hope to cardiac patients



In an Australian-first, a team at MonashHeart have fitted a heart failure patient with the world’s only wirelessly powered cardiac pacing device.

The size of a grain of rice, the device is being trialled in heart failure patients who have failed to respond to, or are otherwise unable to receive, conventional pacemakers.

MonashHeart cardiologist Dr Jeffrey Alison leads the Cardiac Rhythm Management research team within Monash Cardiovasular Research Centre, Monash University, and performed the Australian-first procedure earlier this month at Monash Medical Centre.

“Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands,” Dr Alison said.

“A progressive, debilitating disease, heart failure often occurs when electrical signals within the heart are disrupted, causing the heart’s ventricles to beat in an uncoordinated or unsynchronized pattern, which in turn enlarges the left ventricle and makes the heart less efficient.”

Without therapy, people with heart failure deteriorate and may eventually die of the condition.
Dr Alison said that cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) offers a proven treatment for heart failure by electrically stimulating the heart, but as many as 30 percent of heart failure patients receiving conventional CRT do not respond to the treatment.

“This new wireless device known as WiSE™ (Wireless Stimulation Endocardially) is designed to improve the heart’s pumping ability and help overcome symptoms of heart failure.”

Rather than using pacing leads—decades‐old technology with well‐documented problems—WiSE paces the heart via a tiny wireless electrode, implanted directly in the heart’s left ventricle.

“This approach provides the cardiologist greater choice of pacing locations, enabling patient-specific customisation of pacing site,” Dr Alison said.

“It also eliminates the need for a pacing wire on the outside of the heart’s left ventricle that can have associated problems.”

“MonashHeart and Monash Cardiovascular Research Centre are thrilled to participate in this landmark clinical trial that builds on previous positive results of this first-of-its-kind innovation for heart failure patients, and offers new hope for our patients,” Dr Alison said.

The clinical trial known as SOLVE-CRT (Stimulation of the Left Ventricular Endocardium for Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) will enrol a total of 350 heart failure patients across 45 sites in the US, Europe and Australia.