Jonesboro doctor performs historic procedure

Published: Nov. 12, 2023 at 5:32 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2023 at 11:06 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Jonesboro doctor made history when she inserted the world’s first dual chamber leadless pacemaker.

Dr. Devi Nair is a cardiac electrophysiologist at St. Bernards. On Monday, she performed the ground-breaking procedure.

“I have to say that it has been a dream come true,” she said.

Dr. Nair was inspired to join the field of cardiac electrophysiology after losing her father to sudden cardiac arrest.

When she’s not treating patients, she’s working on new technology to improve their lives.

“We are daily trying to make ourselves better and the dual leadless pacemaker is the perfect example of that,” she said.

The AVEIR pacemaker is a tenth of the size of a normal pacemaker. The Food and Drug Administration approved the pacemaker in June.

“There are no wires involved, there is no pocket there is no scar on the chest. All you have is two small devices,” she said.

It also gives doctors a minimally invasive option. They’re inserted in a tube through the groin, and they’re led to the heart. They’re placed in both chambers of the heart and can work independently.

“The beauty of this system is that the two devices can talk to each other and communicate with each other which gives the patients a better clinical outcome and a better experience,” she said.

While the leadless pacemakers and regular pacemakers both take about an hour to put into the heart, the recovery time is much shorter with the new pacemakers, and there’s less chance of complications.

“We are giving the patient the freedom of not feeling like a patient they don’t know that there is a pacer in there when they look at themselves,” she said.

Dr. Nair said there was a lot of excitement in the room when she and her team placed the pacemaker into the first patient. It was a moment that she dreamt of when she first came to Arkansas.

“It was a true joy to call his family and let them know that everything went well and that he was the first person in Arkansas commercially to get this device,” she said.

The patient was already walking hours after the surgery and went home the same day.

Dr. Nair said success does not stop with the first patient.

“We’re learning about the device. We have a great deal of knowledge about the device and how it works from the clinical trials but every day, we’re going to learn more,” she said.

Since last week, four more patients have received the dual chamber leadless pacemaker system in their hearts.