Virginie Delage

Virginie Delage is the Patient Engagement Manager for the Cardiac Rhythm Management & Cardiovascular Diagnostics & Services businesses of Medtronic in Western Europe. She has been working in healthcare for over 20 years and held various clinical, sales and marketing positions in both pharma and medtech. She is passionate about advancing patient engagement in medtech and involving patients every step of them way, from R&D stages to clinical development and post-approval activities.

Advances in cardiac medical technology save lives every day. But how can future innovations meet the needs of today’s patients even more? By engaging not only with clinicians but also with patients and people at risk of cardiovascular events, our sector is ensuring that advances in technology focus on their quality of life. For example, less invasive procedures and remote monitoring of implantable devices are addressing patients’ call for technologies that allow them to get on with living life. This can be illustrated by looking at some of the technologies that help to regulate patients’ heartbeats, including pacemakers, defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices. First, let’s briefly consider some of the major problems that can arise in heart health. The heart is a muscle that pumps blood through the body. For the heart muscle to contract it needs oxygen (blood supply) and an electrical pulse (rate & rhythm). The two main problems that can occur are obstruction of vessels supplying the heart muscle with blood (heart attack) and problems with the electrical pulse formation and/or conduction (heart rate too fast or too slow). These two problems may be linked: people who have suffered a heart attack or have heart failure, are at higher risk of electrical pulse formation and/or conduction problems, including sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Keeping pace with technology A healthy heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute, pumping about 280 litres of blood every hour. For some people, the heart can beat too slowly, causing dizziness, chronic lack of energy and shortness of breath. This is known as bradycardia. This condition can be treated in some patients by implanting a pacemaker that restores a normal heartbeat. Pacemakers have come a long way in a relatively short time. The traditional pacemaker is a small device implanted under the...