17 March 2017

NICE recommends longer-lasting battery technology for implantable heart rhythm devices

People with heart failure are set to benefit from longer-lasting battery technology in implantable heart rhythm devices, following guidance from NICE.

NICE recommends longer-lasting battery technology for implantable heart rhythm devices

The longer lasting battery means patients need fewer operations to replace it, which is more convenient for them and saves the NHS money.

The guidance supports the use of ENDURALIFE-powered cardiac resynchronisation therapy-defibrillator (CRT-D) devices (Boston Scientific) for patients with a type of heart failure that affects the ability of the left chamber of the heart – the ventricle – to pump enough oxygenated blood around the body.

A CRT-D is a small battery powered device that is put into the upper chest below the left shoulder. Leads from the device go through a vein into the heart to control the rate (pace) of the heartbeat. They continually monitor for an irregular heartbeat, and deliver a small electric shock to return the heartbeat to its normal rhythm (defibrillate) if necessary.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE centre for health technology evaluation, said: Having a longer battery life for CRT-D devices helps improve patient experience by increasing the time between replacements, meaning fewer overall replacement surgeries.

“It could also mean a reduction in healthcare costs for replacement surgery such as hospital admissions and bed days, as well as a reduction in complications such as infections, which are higher in replacement surgery.”

NICE estimates that over 3000 patients will potentially benefit from the technology each year, saving the NHS around £6 million over 5 years through fewer operations to replace the devices. 

People with heart failure have an increased risk of developing life threatening irregular heartbeat and sudden cardiac death is the most common cause of death in people with mild to moderate heart failure.

Having a longer battery life for CRT-D devices could help improve patient experience by increasing the time between replacements, meaning fewer overall replacement surgeries.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE centre for health technology evaluation