Too often, the latest medical technologies and innovative therapies can be slow to reach people and countries with limited resources. In addition, more significant geopolitical issues and financial means can all conspire to limit access to life-saving care for those with the greatest medical and the fewest resources.
For over 38 years, we have been committed to the belief that no one should die because they are without access or unable to afford modern medical technology. Therefore, everything we do is ForHearts in need – that means ensuring innovations in pacemaker technology and cardiovascular procedures do not pass our patients by.
Being for innovation means constantly innovating in our work and mission. In addition to providing pacemakers and pacemaker implantation procedures, we are continually researching new ways to do more ForHearts in need worldwide.
There is a whole cardiovascular implantable “family,” from stents to valves.
“These fit very well with our current mission of providing pacemakers and defibrillators,” says Laura DeLise, Executive Director of ForHearts Worldwide. With this in mind, we are looking at what new therapies the ForHearts team can support and provide our patients.
When it comes to monitoring and providing follow-up care to pacemaker recipients, new methods and technologies are extending the life of devices, making maintenance easier and any needed follow-up surgeries safer.
Lead extraction is a surgical procedure that is sometimes necessary with implantable cardiac devices. For example, defibrillators and pacemakers are connected to the heart muscle through wires called leads. In lead extraction, one or more leads are removed because of infection, lead failure, pacemaker malfunction or recall.
This is a complex procedure, so we look for ways of bringing on additional support and technology for when these cases arise to help our physicians perform this surgery as safely and as effectively as possible. In addition, innovations are happening around lead extraction, so we want to make any new technology or equipment that develops available to our medical teams in our Heart Centers around the globe.
Our ability to provide the latest technologies to patients in need would not be possible without the device manufacturers who partner with us. We are proud to count BIOTRONIK and Boston Scientific among our partners providing their leading cardiac rhythm management devices to patients in need. These devices are some of the most innovative, advancing cardiac care and patient monitoring to save lives.
BIOTRONIK earned the 2021 Frost & Sullivan Enabling Technology Leadership Award, primarily for developing an insertable cardiac monitor, the BIOMONITOR IIIm, to track irregular heart rhythms remotely. Doctors can remotely monitor patients implanted with the device via BIOTRONIK’s Home Monitoring, with any rhythm disturbances recorded and transmitted wirelessly.
Abbott manufactures the world’s smallest, wireless MRI-compatible pacemaker, the Assurity MRI. This pacemaker provides wireless remote monitoring so that doctors can access patient data from the device, helping them monitor and track the patient’s heart. As a global nonprofit organization dedicated to providing innovative cardiac care, we are constantly working toward expanding our partnerships with companies like Abbott by applying for grant applications that would secure Abbott devices for ForHearts patients.
Education and Innovation
Implementing these innovations in device technology and cardiovascular care requires ongoing education. At the same time, the ability to implant and monitor these technologically advanced devices requires advanced training and knowledge.
We want to ensure our physicians are prepared to provide the latest devices. So, we are working on partnerships with device manufacturers and medical schools, such as the University of South Florida, to offer necessary training and technical assistance.
We are dedicated to ensuring our doctors and medical staff in our Heart Centers receive the needed training. Ensuring they are comfortable with the latest device technology and experts in implanting them, monitoring them, and providing follow-up care to patients based on their device.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. For our partner physicians working around the globe, this saying is a daily reality as they are often required to do more with less.
“If you walk into a cath lab in the U.S. and you walk into a cath lab in, say, Trinidad, it may not look the same,” says Laura DeLise. “They may not always have the same technology we have access to.”
Our Heart Centers around the globe meet all the technological requirements and standards for providing cardiovascular procedures, but that doesn’t mean they have all the same technologies. What they do have is a spirit of innovation. They constantly innovate to best utilize their tools and resources and provide the highest quality of care.
Our ongoing innovation, ForHearts, will make this life-saving technology available to more hearts in need.
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