A New Heart – It’s Worth the Trip

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 16, 2013

Heart transplant recipient Kelly Belanger is thankful to be healthy and active again. (Photo by Blake Belanger)

People will travel great distances for a wide variety of things – to see a loved one, to get a deal on a car, even for a special meal. For Kelly Belanger of Sutton, Vermont, traveling 200 miles to connect with the right heart specialist was well worth the trip. Getting a new heart was even better.

Being active always has been important to Kelly, now 48 years old. Even as her health slowly degraded over the years, she still headed out for hikes, swims, and other outdoor adventures. But eventually her physical abilities no longer matched her desire.

After being diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia (a rapid heartbeat), Kelly was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to regulate her heart’s rhythm. The device helped save her life several times, but her health continued to decline.

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New Heart Device May Save and Extend Lives

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 8, 2013

Anthony Andrews (36) believes that a new device, called a subcutaneous implantable defibrillator, will give him a chance at a longer life.

At 36 years old, Anthony Andrews has struggled with health problems for most of his adult life. Currently on dialysis for kidney failure, Andrews also has a complex family history of heart disease, as well as vascular issues. As a result, Andrews has had no options for a life-saving intervention should a cardiac emergency occur – until now.

In November 2012, he became the first person in New England to receive a new type of heart defibrillator, or ICD, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just two months ago.

The cardiac device, called a subcutaneous implantable defibrillator (S-ICD), is implanted under the skin and delivers an electric shock to the heart to treat an abnormally rapid heartbeat. Unlike a traditional ICD, which involves one or more insulated wires that run from the device through a patient’s vein to the lower chamber of the heart, the S-ICD does not require access to a patient’s heart or blood vessels.

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