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University Health Conway surgeon pioneers a revolutionary heart procedure


When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a new implantable heart defibrillator, University Health Conway was among the first hospitals in the nation to bring the revolutionary life-saving procedure to patients in our community.

Under the leadership of heart surgeon Dr. Scott Burkett, University Health Conway is pioneering the use of the world’s first and only commercially available subcutaneous implantable defibrillator, the S-ICD System, to treat abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to Sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart abruptly stops beating usually leading to death in minutes without treatment.

What’s new about this recently approved device, manufactured by Boston Scientific, is that it is implanted just under the patient’s skin and doesn’t require placing wires in the heart.

“The beauty of the new device is that it detects and treats abnormal rhythms to prevent sudden cardiac arrest as well as traditional defibrillators, but it leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched so there’s little or no risk of blood clots or infection,” Burkett said.

Implanting the new S-ICD device is also a less invasive procedure than required with traditional defibrillators, so patients recover more quickly. Many can resume normal activity in a few days or less.

“Because University Health Conway is an academic hospital partnered with the LSU Shreveport School of Medicine, we utilize state of the art science and technology in our practice of medicine,” said Burkett.

“It’s exciting to be able to offer patients at University Health access to advanced procedures and the latest technology that can save lives right here in the local community.”