BayCare Health first to implant world’s smallest pacemaker

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BayCare Health System, a nonprofit healthcare provider in Clearwater, Florida, became the first to implant the world’s smallest pacemaker in June, the company announced in a July 7 statement.                      

The device, manufactured by Medtronic, a medical device maker based out of Dublin, is 93 percent smaller than conventional pacemakers at one inch. It’s been branded as the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) and is designed to treat bradycardia.

Smaller than a AAA battery, the pacemaker is implanted into a patient’s right ventricle through a vein in the leg. After being approved by the FDA in April, it was implanted in three patients throughout June at BayCare’s facilities Morton Plan Hospital in Clearwater and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla. More surgeries are scheduled for the future.

Older pacemaker models have been traditionally implanted under the skin near the collarbone and were wired through a vein directly to the heart’s right ventricle. However, Medtronic’s Micra doesn’t contain any wired leads and instead just connects directly to the heart with small hooks, which can be repositioned if needed.

"We believe this is the start of a new era in pacemakers," said Jose Gallastegui, MD, an electrophysiologist at Morton Plant Hospital, one of BayCare’s facilities, in a statement. "The absence of leads is one of the main advantages of the pacemaker. The elimination of the wires connecting the device to the heart makes for a less invasive procedure reducing the risk of complications for the patient.”