Minimally-Invasive Pacemaker / Defibrillator

Key Personnel

  • Charles Berul, MD 
  • Justin Opfermann, MS 
  • Bradley Clark, MD 
  • Tanya Davis, MD 
  • Axel Krieger, PhD

In children and patients with complex congenital heart disease, standard transvenous pacemaker and defibrillator placement is not a viable option. The only currently available alternative is open-chest placement of pacing leads directly on the heart, which is a significantly more invasive procedure. Major device manufacturers do not have a business model or incentive to develop a pediatric-specific pacemaker or defibrillator device or implantation application. The goal of the present work is to develop minimally invasive percutaneous lead delivery tools and techniques for implanting pacemaker and defibrillator leads via a pericardiocentesis needle to access the heart, specifically designed for pediatric and congenital heart applications. Using an infant piglet model, preclinical testing is demonstrating the feasibility of the technique, and development of specific tools for access is currently ongoing.