Keeping Pace with the Smallest Pacemaker

Cardiac Device/Electrophysiology Clinic Flemington, NJ Pacemakers once were novel and rare methods for addressing arrhythmia and other abnormal heart rates, but today they are quite common and they continue to become more sophisticated.

At Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates, we’ve taken the next step in pacemakers by offering the Medtronic Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System. This is a fully self-contained pacemaker that is 93% smaller than previous pacemakers and doesn’t involve any wires. The Micra® pacemaker is implanted directly in the heart and it is the size of a vitamin capsule!

What does a pacemaker do?

A pacemaker is designed to mimic the heart’s natural rhythm when there are disturbances, such as pauses or flutters, in the natural rhythm. The pacemaker has two jobs: pacing and sensing.

  • Pacing— A pacemaker will send an electrical impulse to the heart when the heart’s own rhythm is too slow or interrupted.
  • Sensing— A pacemaker also keeps track of the heart’s electrical activity. This tells the pacemaker when or when not to deliver a pacing pulse.

How is the Micra system implanted?

Our Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates surgeons follow a five-step implantation process:

  • First, a straw-like catheter is inserted into the vein in the upper thigh area of the leg. This is then advanced up to the heart using fluoroscopic guidance.
  • The catheter system then moves the Micra®into the right ventricle of the heart.
  • The Micra®is placed against the heart wall and secured with four flexible tines that anchor it into the heart wall.
  • We test the Micra®to ensure it is working properly.
  • The catheter is removed and the procedure is complete.

Compare this to a traditional pacemaker where the pacemaker is implanted under the skin, usually just below the collarbone. It is about the size of a silver dollar. Wires are guided through a vein into the heart. These wires are then connected to the pacemaker device.

With the Micra® system there is no separate device and no wires. The tiny pacemaker is completely self-contained. It’s an amazing advancement in pacemaker technology and we’re proud to offer this for our patients who can use this type of pacemaker.

Do you have questions about the Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System and if it could be right for you? Call us at Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates, (908) 788-1710, to schedule a consultation.

Posted in: Cardiac Device/Electrophysiology Clinic

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