Patients in need of pacemakers know the difficulty of dealing with painful procedures and cumbersome medical hardware. But the future may hold open more options.

Last Thursday, St. Vincent Medical Center embarked on a medical experiment the first of its kind in the northwest.

Bill Pike, a 76-year-old patient who simply wanted life to go back to normal, needed a pacemaker. A lifelong outdoorsman, Pike spent nearly 25 years unable to enjoy his beloved activities of hiking and biking, due to a fluttering heart.

Instead of the traditional surgical process Pike expected, St. Vincent offered him an experimental alternative.

St. Vincent offered Pike a much smaller pacemaker. It is only one tenth the size of the pacemakers previously in use, and promises to improve the overall experience of its patients if successful.

The trial, scheduled to last about a year, will include up to 780 patients, both in the United States and Europe. Providence is the only trial site in the Northwest.


Luke Douglas is a third-year law student, seminary student, professional political activist, syndicated opinion columnist, and in-demand speaker. He holds a Bachelors degree in communications. Contact him for consulting in campaigns, nonprofit organizations and fundraising.