| March 12, 2020

‘World’s Smallest Pacemaker’ Implanted in Central Illinois Hospital

Nqaba Matshazi

Nqaba has been working as an investigative journalist for the last 10 years. He has written for various media outlets across the world. Nqaba has been working as an investigative journalist for the last 10 years. He has written for various media outlets across the world.

The “world’s smallest pacemaker” has been implanted on a 79-year-old patient at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Illinois.

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016, is a heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker.

How Micra TPS works

The Pantagraph website explained that a traditional pacemaker is about the size of a matchbox and is implanted near the collarbone, with wires or leads delivering electrical impulses to the heart. The Micra TPS is implanted directly into the heart with no leads and is sometimes referred to as a leadless pacemaker.

The Micra TPS is inserted into the femoral vein at the groin, then guided through the vein to the heart using a catheter delivery system. Tines at the end of the device attach it into the heart and an electrode at the end of the device delivers electrical impulses that pace the heart, the website explained.

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“This is a good medical advance to benefit our patient population. I see it as potentially replacing the traditional pacemaker,” Senthil Sivalingam, the cardiac electrophysiologist who performs leadless pacemaker implantation at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, was quoted as saying.

The hospital said the procedure was carried out some months back, the issue was only coming into prominence now as part of efforts to raise awareness on heart diseases in conjunction with American Heart Month. February is American Heart Month. As part of activities to mark American Heart Month, this year, the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) focused on how people can control high blood pressure and protect their heart.

American Heart Month, a federally designated event, raises awareness and places focus on hearts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in three adults in the U.S. have uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension, a dangerous and common condition.

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It is further estimated that one American dies of cardiovascular disease (CVD) every 38 seconds, which costs the healthcare system more than $329 billion a year.

More than 800,000 people die annually in the U.S from cardiovascular disease, with more than 1.5 million people suffering strokes and heart attacks.

Other Illinois hospitals that implant Micra TPS

Although this was the first time the Micra TPS had been implanted in a patient at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, the procedure has been carried out at other Illinois hospitals.

In June 2016, Northwestern Memorial Hospital became the first hospital in Illinois to offer the Micra TPS for patients with bradycardia, a condition that abnormally slows the heart’s rhythm. Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm of usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath or fainting spells.

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Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help restore the heart’s normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.

The procedure has also been carried out at OSF hospitals in Peoria and Urbana since 2017. The Pantagraph website reported that the Micra TPS has also been implanted at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield and Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Decatur Memorial Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital, both in Decatur, refer appropriate patients to sister hospitals.

What is next for the Micra TPS maker

Medtronic, the makers of Micra TPS  received FDA approval of Micra AV in January, the world’s smallest pacemaker with atrioventricular (AV) synchrony. Micra AV is indicated for the treatment of patients with AV block, a condition in which the electrical signals between the chambers of the heart (the atria and the ventricle) are impaired.

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You can read more news about cardiovascular innovation in Healthcare Weekly’s interview with Dr. Simon Stertzer.


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