Georgia cardiologists complete ‘groundbreaking’ pacemaker implant

Atlanta-based health care system Piedmont announced on Tuesday that Piedmont Athens Regional cardiologists were among the first in the Southeast to implant a dual chamber leadless pacemaker system. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2023, Piedmont described the AVEIR DR pacemaker as a “groundbreaking system” that is “revolutionizing care for patients with slow or abnormal heart rhythms.”

Piedmont Heart Institute physician Kent Nilsson, M.D. led the Athens electrophysiology team in performing the procedure.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for our team,” Nilsson said in a press release. “This innovative technology gives our patients a device that is reliable, retrievable, and upgradeable and is implanted directly into the heart through a minimally invasive procedure. It’s a big step in patient care, and I’m very pleased that we are the first within Piedmont and one of the first in the Southeast to bring this care to our patients.”

The AVEIR DR is roughly 10% the size of a traditional pacemaker and significantly reduces patient exposure to lead, inflection and pacemaker-related complications. Patients who receive the AVEIR DR also experience shorter recovery periods that are less restrictive, often going home the same day as the procedure.

According to Piedmont, roughly 80% of people with abnormal or slow heart rhythms require pacing in two different heart chambers simultaneously — making the AVEIR DR a game-changer in the medical field.

“This system creates a significant opportunity to expand the number of patients we can serve,” Piedmont Heart Institute electrophysiologist Daniel Haithcock, M.D., a member of the team that performed the implantation, said in a press release.

“The data shows that there are millions of people across the U.S. who would benefit from pacing in both chambers of the heart, and we can offer a solution that allows them to improve their overall health and return to the things they love to do.”