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New Electrophysiology procedure lowers risk of sudden cardiac arrest

New Electrophysiology procedure lowers risk of sudden cardiac arrest

Lawrenceville, Ga. (February 5, 2014) – Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) recently became only the second hospital in Georgia, and the first in North Metro Atlanta, to conduct a subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator (SICD) procedure. Recently approved by the FDA, SICD has advantages over the conventional implanted defibrillators in that it does not require a wire into the heart.

Niraj Sharma, MD  Cardiologist Cardiac Electrophysiologist  Gwinnett Medical Center

In the United States more than 300,000 people die yearly of sudden cardiac arrest, which stems from an irregular heartbeat. While some irregular heartbeat conditions are merely uncomfortable, ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation can cause the heart to stop. Recently the effort to put defibrillators (AED or automated external defibrillator) into public spaces has brought attention to sudden cardiac arrest. AED devices have helped restore electrical signals for some people whose hearts stop, but this is a last-ditch effort.

“Prevention is better,” said Niraj Sharma, M.D., a GMC cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist. “We can use an implanted defibrillator to maintain a normal rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac arrest.”

Conventional implanted defibrillators include wires that extend into the patient’s heart. As with any mechanical device, the wire can get infected, break or dislodge. Putting in the wire into the heart initially has additional risks, as does removing a damaged or dislodged wire. While conventional implanted defibrillators have been in use for years, and are still necessary in some cases, Dr. Sharma said, “This alternative is particularly useful for patients with compromised vascular access or younger patients who may require multiple defibrillators during their lifetime.”

About Gwinnett Medical Center
Gwinnett Medical Center is a nationally-recognized, not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Offering cardiovascular, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services, GMC’s 4,800 associates and 800 affiliated physicians serve more than 400,000 patients annually. To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, visit or follow us at, or