Lead or be led: an update on leadless cardiac devices for general physicians

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Implantable cardiac devices have an increasingly important role. Pacemakers remain the only effective treatment for symptomatic bradycardia; cardiac resynchronisation therapy is a proven treatment for heart failure; and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) are superior to medical therapy in prevention of sudden cardiac death. Our ageing population has led to a rising number of device implants. Physicians in all specialties increasingly encounter patients with cardiac devices and require an understanding of their capabilities and functions. The rising prevalence of implantable devices has been matched by a parallel expanse in device technology. Leadless devices have become a reality and represent the future of device therapy. The absence of a transvenous lead offers a significant clinical advantage because of many well established issues related to lead complications. The leadless pacemaker and subcutaneous ICD are significant new products that are currently not well recognised or understood by general physicians.

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