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Revolutionary Cardiac Device Implanted First in Northeast Ohio by Summa Health System

Date: 10.25.2012
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar, MBA Phone: (330) 375-4930

AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 25, 2012 – A revolutionary cardiac defibrillator used to protect patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest and dangerous heart arrhythmias was used for the first time in northeast Ohio Tuesday by Summa Health System.

The new technology, called a subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator (S-ICD), is the first in the world to provide life-saving intervention to patients without touching the patient’s heart or involving wires to the heart like a regular implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD). The technique used to implant the device is also less invasive.

“The device provides the patient with more lifestyle flexibility, and the procedure itself is beneficial for safety reasons because it is less complex and involves a smaller incision,” said Electrophysiologist Michael Pelini, M.D., who implanted the first S-ICD in northeast Ohio. Dr. Pelini is medical director of Heart Rhythm Services for Summa Cardiovascular Institute and a member of Summa Physicians Inc. – Cardiology. “The device is ideal for patients who are young and active, have congenital heart conditions or who are at risk for dislodging their wires as in the case of a traditional implantable defibrillator.”

The S-ICD pulse generator is smaller than a roll of tape and is implanted under the skin and outside the rib cage at the patient’s left side. A small electrode is also implanted subcutaneously in the patient’s chest, running from the S-ICD to the center of the patient’s chest and up about five inches. No wires are threaded into the heart, and the device, being just under the skin, does not touch the heart muscle. The S-ICD also eliminates the need for follow-up surgery to replace or repair wires to the heart because there are no such wires.

If the patient’s heart were to experience a dangerous rhythm, the device would deliver an electrical signal to the heart with the goal of restoring the patient’s heart to normal rhythm and saving his or her life.

Approximately 100,000 Americans receive ICDs each year, and physicians and staff at Summa Health System perform more than 240 of these surgeries annually. Sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer of adults over 40 in the United States, killing between 200,000 and 300,000 people each year.

The new S-ICD is manufactured by Boston Scientific and gained FDA approval in September.

About Summa Health System

Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at