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Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center Participates in New Clinical Trial for the World’s First True Dual-Chamber Leadless Pacemaker System

Athens, Ga. (March 30, 2022) – Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center announced it is participating in the global Aveir DR i2iIDE Study, a clinical trial designed to assess the safety and effectiveness of the Abbott Aveir DR Leadless Pacemaker System in patients with abnormal heart rhythms. Piedmont Athens Regional is the fourth hospital in the country and the first in the southeast to perform the procedure of the world's first true dual-chamber leadless pacemaker system.

Each year, Piedmont Athens Regional and Piedmont Heart Institute Athens performs procedures on more than 700 patients with heart rhythm disturbances. The hospital’s electrophysiology (EP) program is led by Daniel Haithcock, M.D. and Kent Nilsson, M.D., both experts in diagnosing, treating and managing patients for heart rhythm or arrhythmia issues and conditions. Piedmont Athens is a leading enroller in national clinical trials which bring new technology, such as the dual-chamber leadless pacemaker, to patients and give physicians nationwide an opportunity to learn more about heart rhythm management.

People who experience a slower-than-normal or irregular heart rate may receive a pacemaker to help restore a more normal heart rate. Unlike traditional pacemakers, leadless pacemakers do not require physicians to make an incision to implant the device and do not require insulated wires – known as leads – to deliver electrical energy to the heart. Instead, the devices are implanted directly into the heart’s right lower and upper chambers via a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure, which eliminates the need for cardiac leads. While leadless pacing systems work like traditional pacemakers to regulate heart rate, they offer a less restrictive recovery period and can eliminate the common lead and device pocket-related complications associated with traditional systems.

In 2014, Dr. Nilsson performed one of the first single chamber leadless pacemaker placements in the U.S. at Piedmont Athens Regional, and, today, is one of the leading experts in the field. His proficiency with the procedure makes him well-equipped to be a leading physician in the current study.

"We’ve put together an outstanding team that allows us to perform cutting edge, first in the world, procedures. Using revolutionary technology to enhance the lives of our patients, that’s exhilarating " said Dr. Nilsson.

The Abbott Aveir DR leadless pacemaker system uses novel implant-to-implant or i2i algorithm which allows the atrial and ventricular devices to communicate with each other to provide synchronized or coordinated cardiac pacing based on the patient’s clinical need. The implanted devices are specifically designed to be retrieved when one or both devices need to be replaced or if a patient’s therapy needs to be changed. In designing the company’s new leadless pacing system, Abbott focused on offering physicians new options for the treatment of patients with abnormal heart rhythms that may benefit from a minimally invasive procedure.

The Abbott Aveir DR leadless pacemaker system is being clinically evaluated as part of the Aveir DR i2i IDE – a global Study – and is not yet commercially available.

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