World's Smallest Pacemaker

McLaren Health Care, McLaren Northern Michigan
Micra Pacemaker in HandMcLaren Northern Michigan is pleased to be one of the first hospitals in Michigan to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker for patients with bradycardia.

The Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device, approved for Medicare reimbursement, which provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. The first procedure was performed by Daniel Buerkel, MD, Electrophysiologist at McLaren Northern Michigan on December 21, 2017.

Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, 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, shortness of breath, or fainting spells. 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.

Comparable in size to a large vitamin, physicians at McLaren Northern Michigan have elected to use the Micra TPS because unlike traditional pacemakers, the device does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket” under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy. Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small prongs, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads – all while being cosmetically invisible. The Micra TPS is also designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels.

“This is an exciting new technology that represents the biggest change in pacemakers since the first pacemaker was implanted 60 years ago,” stated Dr. Buerkel.

The Micra TPS also incorporates a retrieval feature to enable retrieval of the device when possible; however, the device is designed to be left in the body. For patients who need more than one heart device, the miniaturized Micra TPS was designed with a unique feature that enables it to be permanently turned off so it can remain in the body and a new device can be implanted without risk of electrical interaction.

The Micra TPS is the first and only transcatheter pacing system to be approved for both 1.5 and 3 Tesla (T) full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and is designed to allow patients to be followed by their physicians and send data remotely via the Medtronic CareLink® Network.

The Micra TPS was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2016, and has been granted Medicare reimbursement, allowing broad patient access to the novel pacing technology.