BVI News

BVIHSA records first pacemaker insertion surgery

Dr Roger Miller (centre) and his surgical team. (Photo provided)

The BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) has recorded its first pacemaker insertion procedure.

The surgery was conducted at Peebles Hospital on March 13 by Dr Roger Miller, a cardiothoracic surgeon with more than eight years experience in that speciality.

The procedure effectively involves inserting a small electronic device in a person’s chest to help regulate their heartbeats.

Successful surgery

According to Dr Miller who is the team leader for cardiothoracic services at the hospital, the procedure was done in one of the hospital’s the operating rooms under local anaesthesia with partial sedation.

“Electrodes were passed through large veins and secured on the inner aspect of the heart with the use of x-rays to visualize the procedure in real-time,” he said after the successful surgery.

He said there were “no visible mechanical parts and the procedure was so seamless that the patient was able to return home within 24 hours after implantation and following observation.”


The surgeon added that he was looking forward to continuing more pacemaker placement surgeries as well as introducing other devices such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) at the state-owned medical facility.

ICD’s are small devices placed in the chest or abdomen to treat irregular heartbeats, which is known as arrhythmias.

Dr Miller said the risk of complication from these procedures is very low once adequate precautions are taken.

“These devices can last for many years before being depleted and is largely dependent on how much the patient requires it. If adequate follow-up is maintained, then a replacement can be done close to the time of depletion.”

Giant step forward

In the meantime, Chief of Medical Staff Dr June Samuel described the undertaking as a major one.

“Healthcare services for patients with cardiovascular (heart) conditions in the Virgin Islands have taken a giant step forward,” she said.

She said heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the territory.

Dr Samuel added that diabetes and hypertension are also prevalent.

“It is imperative that as part of controlling the cost of health services or just keeping cost down, the BVIHSA expands into the provision of services such as these locally,” she said.

The BVIHSA provides weekly pacemaker clinics and is expected to expand their service offerings to residents even further.

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  1. Sam the man says:

    Fantastic achievement well done you all

  2. Bam says:

    We only hear the negative stories about that place. Congrats and keep pressing forward.

  3. Albion says:

    It is an important step forward for local health care, and kudos to the team. But let’s not pretend this “great leap forward” makes us cutting edge: the first pacemaker was surgically installed in 1958. It has taken us 60 years to bring this development to BVI.

  4. Grateful says:

    I am very happy to see that BVIHSA is moving forward with these very important services. Congratulations to the team especially the performing doctor, Dr. Rodger Miller. This will help HSA as these types of services would be more affordable rather than sending patients via Air Ambulance to other places.
    Continue to do the good work you are doing Dr. Miller, we are very happy to have you on board.

  5. Curious says:

    Wasn’t it Mr. Vanterpool did the first pace maker insertion into the BVI? Asking for a friend.

    • L says:

      Yes, but it wasn’t at Peebles.

    • Yes says:

      Please tell your friend yes. However, the article did say the first at that institution and not in the BVI. I would also encourage your friend to read and understand these articles in future – this way he/she does not come off looking ignorant.

      Hope this helps.

    • Sarah says:

      Yes he Dr Vanterpool did!
      The news need to be clear, but you know who always like to have the first say, those who don’t know what is happening in the trenches.

      The ones that making these exciting events occur never be praised for their hard work. But God sees, I am happy for that, if the community only know the struggle……

      I wish the staff at BVIHSA all the best continue to do a great job Nurses and Doctors working in the trenches, doing much with very little or nothing at all. God Blessings on you all.

  6. Wendy says:

    Good news.

  7. Wendy says:

    Good news for 5he VI
    Best wishes to the recovering patient.

  8. Congrats says:

    Great job Dr. Miller and your team. Continue to make your home country Jamaica and your adopted home (the BVI) proud.
    May you continue to serve and be guided by the hands of the almighty.

  9. Congrats says:

    Congratulations!! Nurse Wisdom and the Nursing Team. Excellent job!!! keep up the good work, those are my former colleagues. Proud to say it. She and her team is a stickler and always willing to give of her best.

    Look forward hearing greater things happening in the Operating Room. Happy to see Nurses Findlay, DeAllie, Beverly, Moya, Tagarao. Sr. Wisdom I see new faces. Congratulations to Sr. Wisdom & her Team Dr. Nehemiah and the New Surgeon Dr. Miller.

  10. Martha says:

    This is a simple procedure. It could be done by a tech in a sterile office. I don’t think a picture of 11 staff who are behind the times with an overinflated story should be written to impress people with no medical knowledge. They should have been doing this years ago!

    • Martha J says:

      Thanks for your comment, but there is no sterile office. Anything is sterile must be processed under steam pressure of 250-275degress or low pressure machine.

      Nothing happen before its time. You must learn how to appreciate the small things.

      I must say it is of great significance to the staff and especially the patients and their relatives.

      Look at the bigger picture…….



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