Patient receives leadless pacemaker to regulate heart rhythm
A patient at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center has received the world’s smallest pacemaker that works without the use of the connecting leads or wires of a conventional pacemaker.
Micra is revolutionary not only for its measurements, but also because it’s placed inside the heart. Micra inserts through a vein in the patient’s upper thigh and is guided to the heart, leaving no scar or visible bump as is typical with conventional pacemakers.
The leadless device eliminates potential medical complications arising from a chest incision and from wires running from a conventional pacemaker into the heart.
Traditional pacemakers sit just under the skin below the collarbone with one or more electrodes running directly into the heart. Though complications of this implantation are uncommon, the electrodes can break or become dislodged or infected, requiring subsequent procedures such as lead extractions.
The 1-inch Micra is implanted onto the inside heart wall and uses flexible prongs to hold it in place. Electrical impulses are then generated to regulate heartbeats in the same fashion as traditional single-chamber pacemakers.
A clinical trial involving 719 patients implanted with Micra found that 98 percent had adequate heart pacing six months after implantation with complications occurring in less than 7 percent of trial participants, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which approved the device in April.
More Americans are getting pacemakers which are most often used to treat bradycardia, a too-slow heart rhythm. If the heart beats too slowly, the brain and body do not get enough blood flow.
By normalizing the heartbeat, pacemakers can ease symptoms like fatigue and fainting and help people be more physically active.