Bill Thomason Find a Location Find a Doctor Heart & Vascular Advanced Heart Failure Management Center Arrhythmia Center Diagnostic Testing Treatments/Procedures Cardiology Heart Attack Care Minimally Invasive Procedures Cardio-Oncology Cardiac Rehab Clinical Research Diagnostic Services Heart Surgery Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute Building Patient Success Stories Prevention & Wellness AHA Training Center CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit Hands-only CPR Healing Hearts Women's Support Group Health Disparities and Cardiovascular Disease Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips My Heart Rocks Women and Heart Disease Tobacco Cessation Freedom from Smoking Nicotine Medication Nicotine Replacement Tobacco Cessation Therapy Success Stories Tobacco Cessation Resources Youth E-cigarette and Vaping Epidemic Structural Heart & Valve Center Aortic Valve Replacement Mitral Valve Surgery Your Hospital Stay Care After Heart Surgery Intensive Care for Heart Conditions Nurses with Heart Care Expertise Transitional Care Units Remarkable Tiny Pacemaker Fits Inside Bill Thomason’s Heart A round of golf, a game of cards and the chance to enjoy life were top of mind for Bill Thomason when doctors told him he needed a pacemaker. “Quality of life is worth a lot at my age. If you have to stick your head in the sand, it's just no good,” said the 70-year-old who lives in the Taylor Mill area. He likes a round of golf, playing cards for fun and walking, “up to a point,” he added with a laugh. During a visit to his cardiologist, Dr. Robert Strickmeyer, Bill’s heart rate fluctuated from 30 to 160. Dr. Strickmeyer explained: “He needed a pacemaker because his heart was going too slow at times and then too fast at other times. So, he was symptomatic on both ends of the spectrum. The pacemaker will keep it from going too slow, and then medicine will keep it from going too fast.” Bill was referred to St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute electrophysiologist Dr. Mohamad Sinno. Dr. Sinno explained the pros and cons of a clinical research study for a new self-contained leadless pacemaker: No wires. Quicker recovery. Fewer complications. And a battery that lasts 12-20 years. As the doctor answered his questions, Bill’s friend Mildred Martin also listened closely and took notes to help Bill understand his options. “She didn’t think I’d go for it,” Bill said. Leadless refers to the absence of insulated wires which, in traditional pacemakers, carry the electrical impulses to the heart. A leadless pacemaker is small enough to be inserted in a leg vein and implanted directly in the heart. It is not yet FDA approved, so is only available as part of a clinical trial. St. Elizabeth is one of only 50 hospitals in the country (and the only one in the Cincinnati area) chosen to participate in the clinical trial for this leadless pacemaker. There are no restrictions on arm movement and, with no wires, fewer complications. “I was happy with not having a lot of restrictions,” said Bill. "I was not apprehensive at all about it…He answered every question that I had.” “I didn't feel any ill effects,” said Bill, other than heeding the doctor’s caution about the incision at the top of his leg. The next morning in the hospital, Dr. Sinno asked if he had been awake at 5 a.m. When Bill replied he had been sleeping, the doctor explained the pacemaker was doing its job. “I never felt it kick in,” said Bill. Dr. Sinno said the procedure took less than 30 minutes start to finish with excellent performance by the pacemaker. "I behaved for a week.” Bill, a retired plant manager at Northern Kentucky’s now-closed iconic Trauth Dairy, joked, “I didn’t even pick up a gallon of milk.” Two weeks later, Bill was on the golf course. “I probably look at it from the point of view (of) what do I want to do from here out? ...I want to enjoy." “We dance, we walk. My friend here takes Zumba lessons. Of course, I'd never try that.” Arrhythmia Services at St. Elizabeth For more information about arrhythmia care at the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute, learn more now, or call (859) 331-3353.