A number of questions may come to mind, below we have the answers below.
Have pacemakers been reused previously?
Yes. The proof of concept has been well established. The organisation "Heart to Heart" has been collecting and distributing used pacemakers for second use in the developing world since 1994. Pace4Life aims to use a similar principle for the UK market. http://www.theheart.org/article/995109.do
Is the reuse of pacemakers safe?
There is a growing body of scientific publications that support the claim that pacemaker devices can be reused after appropriate sterilisation and functionality checks. The University of Michigan is currently undertaking a large-scale clinical study with the FDA to obtain regulatory approval for the refitting of used pacemakers. http://www2.med.umich.edu/prmc/media/newsroom/details.cfm?id=1592
Who are the partners?
We are developing our links with established teaching hospitals in the Greater London area and medical charities in Sri Lanka alongside working with the NHS and other supporting organisations. We aim to create a central hub in London that will be responsible for the collection and shipping of pacemaker devices.
Where do we get the pacemakers from?
Pacemaker devices are currently removed in hospitals, mortuaries and funeral homes when the remains of the deceased are prepared for cremation or burial. We seek to encourage these organisations to send us the used pacemakers instead of discarding them. By obtaining Patient Consent, NHS support and Legal and Regulatory abidance we seek to make this idea real.
What is the average life-span of a pacemaker?
Pacemakers are powered by long-lasting lithium batteries and are usually encased in either stainless steel or titanium. Once fitted the average life-span of a pacemaker is between 7 and 10 years. We will look to use pacemakers with greater than or equal to 70% battery life in line with the protocol set and used by the University of Michigan.
How will patient data be kept safe?
Pacemakers and their data will be refurbished prior to any reuse, in the process all patient data will be erased.