Heartbeat International’s Pacemaker Program was created out of compassion and generosity.
More than twenty-five years ago Federico Alfaro, MD, a Guatemalan physician, had to watch a young patient die because the family could not afford the pacemaker operation the boy needed to survive. Dr. Alfaro swore another countryman would not die because they could not afford a pacemaker, and in 1977 he organized a pacemaker program through his Rotary Club, which provided the devices at no charge to such patients. In 1984, while attending a Rotary meeting in Guatemala, Mr. Eddie Carrette learned of the pacemaker program. He contacted Allen Webb, a college classmate who worked for a pacemaker manufacturer, suggesting he persuade his company to donate some new pacemakers to this worthwhile project. Mr. Webb did so, and the first gift was 486 new pacemakers and several endocardial pacing electrodes.
And so the foundation for our Pacemaker Program was established. Through unique partnerships with the medical manufacturers, Heartbeat International receives the donation of new pacemakers and ICDs, and we distribute the devices to our global network of Heart Centersfor implantation.
Our Pacemaker Program has two requirements: medical need and economic need. All potential patients must be assessed by one of our certified volunteer doctors in their country and must meet the indigent status outlined by local social workers. Once the patient is deemed eligible, the device is implanted and our Heart Center will provide life-long follow-up care.
Arrhythmia is a form of cardiovascular disease that causes an abnormal rhythm of the heart, which can be too fast, too slow, or irregular. A pacemaker is an artificial device that monitors and regulates a person’s heartbeat by sending low-energy electrical pulses through the heart. AnImplantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is similar to a pacemaker, but it can also send high-energy electrical pulses, which can “shock” the heart during a dangerous rhythm.
Our partner BIOTRONIK has launched its new online Travel Guide. With just a few clicks, patients with implanted BIOTRONIK cardiac devices such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) or heart failure therapy devices can access information about recommended hospitals and medical centers in more than 100 countries around the globe. Please visit theirwebsite for more information and to see the guide.