Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

New Pacemaker Device Gets FDA Approval to Treat Heart Failure


Pacemakers are widely used to get hearts that beat too slowly or irregularly into a normal rhythm. Medtronic's souped-up pacemaker works another way, boosting the beats of weak hearts. Medtronic beat two competing companies to get the device to market.

"It's a big breakthrough," said David B. DeLurgio, MD, an Emory University cardiologist who helped test the device for Medtronic. "It's not for every heart failure patient, but a proportion could definitely benefit."

In a study of 579 patients, those using the pacemaker experienced significant improvement, FDA reviewers concluded in approving the device.

One standard heart failure test measures how far patients can walk in six minutes. Those whose pacemakers were turned on could walk, on average, 58 more yards than patients in a comparison group whose pacemakers were turned off.

By another measure, 68% of pacemaker patients reported improved quality of life, as opposed to 38% in the comparison group.

The study lasted just six months and didn't measure whether the device had any effect on prolonging life. But doctors say that for these patients, improving quality of life in the short term is a big goal.

"It's not a new heart, but it's an improvement," said FDA medical reviewer Bram Zuckerman, MD.

InSync is only for advanced patients unaided by the best medical therapy, he said, cautioning that it's not a replacement for medications.

Because InSync is different than standard pacemakers, with an additional wire snaked into a different part of the heart, the FDA is requiring Medtronic to specially train doctors before they can begin implanting the device.

But Minneapolis-based Medtronic is prepared to begin selling the device to trained doctors immediately and says the operation should cost between $10,000 and $12,000.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure