Pacemaker procedure marks historical moment

BURKE Dr. Kendall Griffith and team following the first pacemaker procedure in the Cath Lab at Burke Health.

BURKE Dr. Kendall Griffith and team following the first pacemaker procedure in the Cath Lab at Burke Health.

Burke Health added another historical moment in Burke County history by performing the first pacemaker procedure at their facility in Waynesboro.

Pacemakers are devices that can be placed in the body to support the electrical system in the heart. They stabilize abnormal heart rhythms and prevent problems that can disrupt or endanger a patient’s life.

The heart has its own electrical system, which tells the heart’s chambers when it’s their turn to squeeze. When this system malfunctions, the heart’s chambers may squeeze in the wrong order or too weakly to provide enough blood to the body. Pacemakers use electrical impulses to correct these types of malfunctions.

There are four types of pacemakers: leadless, singlechamber, dual-chamber, and biventricular.

Dr. Kendall Griffith and the cardiology team at Burke Health installed a dual-chamber pacemaker using the transvenous approach in under 45 minutes.

The transvenous approach is a method frequently used in adults. First, the specialist makes a small incision to access a vein near the heart that usually runs underneath the collarbone, to the arm, or the neck.

Then, using fluoroscopy (a type of x-ray), leads are threaded through the vein and attached to a point in the heart. They are then attached to the pacemaker device in a small pocket just under the skin of the upper chest.

Pacemakers improve quality of life and prevent disruptions caused by heart problems, such as fainting caused by arrhythmias, chest pain and palpitations. They can also prevent the heart from stopping.

“I’m grateful that the team and I are a part of this historical moment and can now provide care like this to the people of Waynesboro and the surrounding counties,” said Griffith. “The patient has done well, and the team was outstanding. They were a very experienced team, and everything went very smoothly. So, it’s just a blessing, and I’m grateful to be a part of this new healthcare system that provides this level of care to the people of Waynesboro and beyond.”

Burke Health says it is on track to offer a full range of diagnostic and procedural cardiology services by early next year.

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