Can Medtronic Surescan replace natural heartbeat?

My brother just had a Medtronic Surescan W1DR01 implanted.

His doctor said that he severed the electrical connections so my brother's heart does not beat on its own anymore, and the Surescan causes his heart to beat.

I have reviewed all of the patient and physicians manuals for this device, and none of them describe this functionality.

They describe this as a pacing device that is used therapeutically to adjust his heart rhythm.

I am perplexed. Is it possible this device could be used as his doctor has described?

Thoughts and comments are much appreciated!






by AgentX86 - 2022-09-22 21:46:23

Your brother is what is called "pacemaker dependent".  That is, his pacemaker "paces" every beat and would be in trouble without it.  The heart has a few backup pacing sites that would take over if the pacemaker failed (they don't). 

These backup beats are called "ectopic beats".  The capability of the ectopic beats is always there but the natural pacemaker is faster so beats them to the punch.  First one wins.  The natural pacemaker (the sinus node) beats at 60ish beats per minute.  There are other cells in the atrium (where the SI node is) that could take over pacing but the most common source would be the AV (or atrio-ventricular) node.  This is the "wire" that connects the top half (atria) of the heart to the bottom (ventricles).  This would be called a "junctional rhythm" and usually has a rate of 25-35bpm.  He could easily get to a hospital.

The next level down is the ventricles themselves. If none of the above work, there are "pacing" cells in the ventricles, too.  These are yet slower (or they would take over in a normal heart) and would result in a heart rate of maybe 15-30bpm.  He may or may not be able to remain conscious but it would be enough to get help.

Your brother is certainly not alone. There are a number of us here (myself included) who are pacemaker dependent.  Your brother's pacemaker is perfectly capable of handling your brother's condition.

The note about adjusting his heart rhythm automatically is called "rate response" (RR).  Probably half of us here need rate response (including anyone who is pacemaker dependent). Since his natural pacemaker is no longer functional he needs something to adjust his heart rate to match his need for oxygen.  Pacemakers cannot use  natural means (which measures CO2 in the blood), so Medtronic uses an accelerometer to measure motion to estimate his need for oxygen and increase heart rate.

Short answer:  Your brother will be just fine an will lead a normal life. He'll likely forget he has a pacemaker in a couple of months.  It's like your little toe.  When was the last time you thought about it?


What AgentX86 said!

by LondonAndy - 2022-09-23 13:52:16

Yep, pacemaker dependent here too, following "surgical complication" (accidental cock-up) when I had my aortic valve replaced in 2014.

I didn't even think about it for a few months, as life seemed the same as before.

Pacemaker Dependent Dual Chamber

by Stache - 2022-09-26 00:56:16

My sinus node stopped working and I went into cardiac arrest in the ER.  I don’t have a natural heartbeat anymore and 100% pacemaker dependent now beating at 60 bpm.  I had an Abbott pacemaker installed on 02/08/2021.

When my sinus node stopped my heart stopped.  I was shocked and beaten back to life and woke up with a pacemaker inserted.  Like yourself, it has taken me a long time to get used to the thought of what if?  My pacemaker is Bluetooth and I have a bedside monitor that downloads every night.  There is a smartphone app I used for a couple of days but it was too much information for me, so I turned it off.

Yes, if my pacemaker were to stop working I would die as I do not have a natural heartbeat.  I have stopped all my activities like scuba diving, windsurfing, rollerblading, etc.  However, I am able to ride my mountain bike, it’s amazing what my pacemaker does for me on the bike increasing my bpm as I ride.  I have learned not to think about my pacer stopping, I have accepted I am bionic now.  I have a 10.5-year warranty on my battery and it will chirp at me if and when the battery gets low.

My dual chamber pacer was a lifesaver for me and my wife, I can’t live without it.  It is really nothing to worry about, I am living proof of that.

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