Pioneering heart operation performed in Belfast Trust


Doctors at the Royal Victoria Hospital have successfully implanted into a patient the first subcutaneous defibrillator which was manufactured in Ireland

Dr Ernest Lau, Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, at the RVH said: “It is great to be part of the team in Belfast to successfully use the first S-ICD™ System manufactured in Clonmel Ireland. The S-ICD™ represents a valuable alternative and a major advancement in defibrillation therapy and prevention of death from sudden cardiac arrest. The cardiology team of this hospital strives ceaselessly to deliver the best service and bring the latest medical technologies to our patients. The excellence of the cardiology service at Belfast Trust is reflected by the decision Boston Scientific, a leading global medical device manufacturer, made in choosing where to release the first S-ICD™ after relocating the manufacturing facilities from America to Ireland.”

Dr Niall Herity, Consultant Cardiologist and Clinical Director of the Belfast Trust Cardiology Service, said: “Given the substantial clinical experience with the performance of the S-ICD™ system, I would see a default role of the technology in younger patients and for primary prevention ICD indications.”

More about Subcutaneous Defilbillator (S-ICD)

The S-ICD™ System produced by Boston Scientific is the world’s least invasive implantable defibrillator and provides protection from SCA while leaving the heart and vasculature untouched. The S-ICD™ system sits entirely just below the skin without the need for thin, insulated wires – known as electrodes or 'leads' – to be placed into the heart, avoiding some of the problems with transvenous ICDs.

Paudie O’Connor, Vice President of Boston Scientific Clonmel Operations, said:
“This is the first time an S-ICD™ manufactured in our Clonmel facilities is implanted in a human patient. I am very proud of the team that brought this innovative and novel technology developed in America to life in Ireland before schedule. We can now satisfy the world-wide demand for this important life-saving technology.”

Like standard transvenous implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), a subcutaneous defibrillator or S-ICD™ is a defibrillator that senses, detects, and treats life-threatening “tachy” (fast) “arrhythmias” (abnormal heart rhythms) originating within the “ventricles” (the main pumping chambers of the heart), preventing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

SCA can cause instant death, and strikes its victims without warnings. More than 95% of SCA victims die before even reaching hospital. SCA claims more than 350,000 lives per year in Europe and is the predominant mode of death for patients with heart failure. Ventricular tachy-arrhythmias is the most important cause of SCA, but can be successfully treated by a timely electrical shock delivered to the heart (“defibrillation”). Effective blood circulation is restored and the victim’s life saved.