Saint Louis University Hospital Offering Leadless ICD – the Subcutaneous ICD 
Thursday, 30 January 2014 
ST. LOUIS – Specialists at Saint Louis University Hospital have a new option for patients in need of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) – a subcutaneous ICD (s-ICD) with no leads inserted into the body’s veins, reducing complications while still protecting patients from episodes of ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF).

An ICD is a small device inserted just under the skin near a patient’s left collarbone. It is widely used among cardiologists to monitor the heart’s rhythm and deliver electrical shocks to the heart, converting an abnormally beating heart back to a normal heartbeat.

One of the most frequent complications with ICD’s involves the leads that run from the device, delivering energy to heart muscle. Leads can lose their function, become infected, or obstruct the blood-flow in the vein - all of which require them to be removed. Over time, scar tissue can build up around the leads and this makes removing the leads more complicated. A “lead extraction” – performed at Saint Louis University Hospital by a combined team of an electrophysiologist and a cardiac surgeon – is then necessary.

The subcutaneous ICD has no leads and shocks are delivered wirelessly, eliminating that potential complication.

“Studies have shown the subcutaneous ICD is as safe as the traditional model,” says Ali Mehdirad, MD, director of electrophysiology at the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care at Saint Louis University Hospital and a SLUCare physician.

In fact, a study published August 2013 in the journal Circulation supported “the efficacy and safety of the S-ICD System for the treatment of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.” The device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012, but was not widely used by cardiologists until results from that randomized trial were published in Circulation.

At this point, not all patients are candidates for the S-ICD.

“Patients with limited vascular access or high risk of infection are probably best suited for this device,” says Dr. Mehdirad.

For more information about heart rhythm disorders, visit or call 855-97-HEART.


About Saint Louis University Hospital

Saint Louis University Hospital is a 356-licensed bed quaternary/tertiary referral center located in the heart of the city of St. Louis. Approximately 75 percent of patients are drawn from a 150-mile radius. Through affiliation as the teaching hospital for Saint Louis University, the hospital provides patients and their families with an environment of medical innovation. Working in this endeavor are the hospital’s medical staff partners, SLUCare, the physicians of Saint Louis University. The hospital admits more than 17,000 patients annually, performs more than 200 organ transplants a year and is a Level I Trauma Center that treats more than 2,000 major trauma cases a year. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:

Jason Merrill