Changing Manufacturers

Hi Everyone!

I am 28 years old and have had my Guidant pacemaker since Jan 2002. At the time, I was so shocked to learn that I needed a pacemaker I did no research on what options I had and just took what the doctor offered. I found out on a Wednesday and had my surgery that Friday. After the recent negative news and recalls with Guidant (now Boston Scientific), I was wondering if anyone knows if it is possible to change pacemaker types without changing the leads into the heart? I was told that over time scar tissue develops in the leads going to the heart. It seems that once the leads are placed they are permanent. Is that true? I am due to get a replacement within a year and thought I should start planning.


3 Comments

What I think

by ela-girl - 2008-02-19 09:02:03

Hi, my2girls.

Well, you are right about the scar tissue forming around the leads and that after time, the leads are pretty entrenched into the heart wall. And I don't know if you can have one type of leads and another manufacturer's pulse generator. I will be curious what someone else on the site knows as far as this is concerned. I know that doctors obviously change out the generator for a new one and even if it was the same manufacturer's generator again, it seems like the leads could be different. So there has to be an industry standard on how leads hook into the generator just like there are two differnt types of leads that go into the heart muscle (ones that screw in or hook in). Does that make sense? So, I guess I'm saying that I think it's possible to have different lead and generator manufacturers. But I'm no doctor mind you!

As far as the leads being permanent...in a way they are. It seems to me that more and more doctors these days are doing lead extractions, but it is also my understanding that this can be a bit risky. Some doctors will leave old leads in place and just thread in new ones as long as there is space.

As far as you being able to research and choose your type/brand of pacemaker...I don't think this is possible. Doctors/hospitals do business with certain companies. And they are all different depending on which cardiac group you are with. So, I think you are going to be left at the whim of your doctor as far as the brand you will be getting and what type of pacemaker he thinks is still best for you and your condition.

If you are unsure, you could always call and ask your pacemaker company your questions or your doctor's nurse.

Best of Luck!
ela-girl

Not a Choice

by Pacing13 - 2008-02-19 11:02:19

Hello my2girls -

I have never been given a choice from my doctor as far as type and brands of pacemakers. He made it known to me what company he goes with and why he feels that's best. I think it has alot to do with insurance companies as well.

Space can become an issue if you keep having leads replaced. I have 4 in my upper chamber and one in my lower that needs to come out when I have my pm replaced within the next 5 months. Why, because there is no more room in my upper chamber for more leads. Space becomes an issue at some point in time!

Welcome-
Pacing 13

Boycott Guidant

by ted - 2008-02-20 06:02:48

After Guidant deceived us and our doctors for years by hiding news of defective products, Guidant should be boycotted. No doctor should implant a Guidant. If my doctor ever told me that I could only have a Guidant, I would walk out and get another doctor. Guidant should not be rewarded for keeping quiet while people were dying. It took the N.Y. Times to expose Guidant or they never would have come clean about the defects.

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