Cardiologists in Rapid City are using a new pacemaker that is fully implanted inside a person’s heart. The FDA only recently approved the technology. Doctor Kelly Airey with Rapid City Regional Hospital performed the first procedure to place the pacemaker. Her patient is impressed.
Paul Baldwin has had two traditional pacemakers to normalize and regulate his heartbeat. When his latest device’s battery was up for replacement, he talked with Dr. Kelly Airey about his options. Baldwin says she recommended a tiny pacemaker that’s self-contained within his heart.
"After some apprehension and discussion and a couple of weeks of thinking about this, I decided that she knows what she’s doing, and that’s what we expect from a good surgeon," Baldwin says.
The 94-year-old used to have a battery and generator under his skin with wires leading to his heart. But the new pacemaker accomplishes the same fix all within the heart. Baldwin says he’s happy to ditch the conventional pacemaker.
"Well I do not have the bulge on my chest," Baldwin says. "It’s not going to interfere with my seat belt. It’s invisible. I don’t have to worry about it."
Baldwin says the pacemaker improves his energy, so he can focus on enjoying his time with his wife.