July 12, 2017

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Offering New Procedure to Relieve Arrhythmia Symptoms After 40 Years of Pioneering Work to Bring to the Mainstream


“His Bundle Pacing” Procedure First Described by the Late Dr. Bernard Kosowsky to alleviate symptoms of arrhythmia

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center recently became the first Massachusetts-based Steward Health Care system hospital to offer “His Bundle Pacing”, a procedure that relieves arrhythmia symptoms in patients with various rhythm disturbances associated with the slow pulse and heart failure. The procedure, after extensive years of research and study began, in part, at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, and is now available for patient benefit.

“In 1967, the late Dr. Bernard D. Kosowsky (BDK), a 30-plus-year member of the Cardiology Department at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center was the first to describe the technique for His Bundle Pacing (HBP). This was pioneering work performed in an animal model together with Dr. Benjamin Scherlag,” said Michael Orlov, MD, an electrophysiologist at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. “Forty years ago, Dr. Kosowsky and his colleagues not only developed the method for performing this type of pacing, but also described its beneficial hemodynamic effects.”

HBP uses the same pacemaker as in a typical pacemaker placement, but utilizes a special screw-in lead placed at the His Bundle (a bundle of cardiac fibers responsible for electrical conduction in the heart) rather than in the right ventricle. While right ventricular pacing is both successful and low-risk, patients who require constant pacing could develop heart failure over time due to dyssynchronous contraction of the heart. With the HBP pacing from a different area of the heart than the traditional pacemaker, it can avoid dyssynchrony that may be caused by conventional pacing.

“There is a growing body of evidence that hemodynamically His Bundle Pacing may be as beneficial as biventricular pacing, which is routinely used to treat heart failure” said Dr. Orlov. “In the words of our implanting electrophysiologists’ ‘the procedure is elegant, is beneficial for the patients, represents electrophysiology in the true meaning of that word, and is technically feasible’.”

Dr. Kosowsky was transformative in the development of His Bundle Pacing. He led the cardiovascular division at St. Elizabeth’s for more than30 years and devoted his career to working with generations of patients at the hospital and within the community. His foresight, specifically with HBP, is carried on by Dr. Orlov and his colleagues, who are helping to bring this procedure into the mainstream.

To learn more about this procedure, please speak with your cardiologist or call 617-789-3187.

About St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center is a major academic medical center affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine. Areas of medical excellence include vascular and endovascular surgery, cardiology, neurosciences including neurosurgery, general and robotic surgery, bariatric surgery, women’s health, high-risk obstetrics, bone and joint health, hematology/oncology, pulmonary medicine and emergency medicine. St. Elizabeth’s is a member of Steward Health Care. Visit St. Elizabeth’s online at