Used Dual Lead Pacemaker

I had a dual lead Biotronik pacemaker installed in May of 2018 but had to have it replaced with a CRT-P last Friday due to pacing dyssynchrony causing a lowered ejection fraction. The EP gave me the old Biotronik after surgery and it has to have at least 8 -10 yrs of good battery life.

Are there any legit avenues to donate something like this to someone needing a pacemaker who doesn't have insurance or the financial means to afford?  I guess I could keep it as a souvenir and make a necklace out of it but it would be great if someone could actually benefit from it.


5 Comments

Yes, Robin. but ...

by IAN MC - 2019-03-06 12:18:29

Here in the UK there is a charity , Pace4life , which  collects 2nd hand pacemakers and sends them to countries who cannot afford them.   They are then implanted into deserving cases.

As far as I know there is nothing similar in the U.S.     I hope i am wrong.

Ian

 

Ian

by Tracey_E - 2019-03-07 11:16:52

They send pacers that are close to the expiration to implant date to other countries here, but not used ones. There are programs where vets will utilize the used ones that still have good life left. 

Once it's been sent home and not in a sterile environment, I'm going to guess it's only use is a souvenir or maybe an interesting paperweight. 

Tracey

by IAN MC - 2019-03-07 18:39:06

Thanks for the clarification re the US situation.

I actually arranged a meeting with the man who set up the UK charity and he had not been aware just how important the follow-up is after implant . As we all know, the settings adjustments post-implant are absolutely critical.  An unfortunate fact of life is that those 3rd world countries which cannot afford pacemakers also don't have the expertise or resources to provide the post-implant care.  

  So although the idea of re-using pacemakers is fine , putting it into practice  has proved problematical for the charity.

ian

Ian

by Tracey_E - 2019-03-07 19:11:00

Have you heard of Heartbeat International? Amazing charity out of Tampa. I'm not sure if he's still involved but at one time Blake was on their board. They set up clinics in 3rd world countries so patients not only get their pacers but get follow up care. They are the group I was talking about that uses donated ones close to the expiration date. They still have a full life, but FDA will only let them be sold here until a certain date so after that date the companies donate them to Heartbeat. 

Tracey ... quite inspirational

by IAN MC - 2019-03-08 11:59:45

Thanks. I have had a look at the Heartbeat International website and there are some very touching reports of individuals in developing countries who have benefited from donated pacemakers.

Like the U.S with its FDA restrictions there are European directives here which forbid the re-use of previously implanted PMs but these restrictions don't apply in developing countries.

It is a sobering thought that a new PM costs more than the annual income of the average worker in many countries ! 

Especially sobering when you think that there are thousands of perfectly functioning pacemakers , some with more than 80% of remaining battery life , gathering dust in mortuaries and funeral parlours .

Ian

 

You know you're wired when...

You trust technology more than your heart.

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I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for pacemakers. I've had mine for 35+ years. I was fainting all of the time and had flat-lined also. I feel very blessed to live in this time of technology.