The World’s Smallest Pacemaker

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Download your guide on irregular heartbeats – and how they’re diagnosed and treated. 

Doctors at Hartford Hospital recently implanted the world’s smallest pacemaker. It’s called the Micra transcatheter pacing system, and it’s designed for patients who need a single-chamber pacemaker. Dr. Steven Zweibel, Director of Electrophysiology at Hartford Hospital, has the details.

Q: The size of this pacemaker is similar to that of a vitamin capsule. Tell us how this new device is implanted. 

A: The Micra transcatheter pacemaker is implanted through a vein in the upper leg.  A catheter is placed into the femoral vein and a delivery system is placed up into the heart. The Micra pacemaker is then introduced into the lower right pumping chamber of the heart, the right ventricle.  The device has tines on it that keep it secured to the heart muscle.  Unlike the more traditional pacemaker, the Micra device has no leads or wires.  It is completely self-contained.  Once the Micra is in a suitable location, the tether that secures it to the delivery system is cut and the delivery system and catheter are removed from the body.  The procedure takes about 45 minutes to perform.

Download your guide on irregular heartbeats – and how they’re diagnosed and treated. 

Q: What are the benefits of this pacemaker? How does it compare to more traditional pacing systems?

A: Since the Micra pacing system has no leads like a traditional pacemaker, complications such as dislodgment or fracture of these wires are eliminated.  There is also a lower risk of infection and there is no visible scar, like we see with traditional pacemakers.  The Micra pacemaker is MRI compatible, as are many of the newer traditional pacemakers, and has a battery longevity of about 12 years.  The Micra also has the ability to increase a patient’s heart rate for them when their heart is unable to.

Q: What type of patient is the ideal candidate for this type of pacemaker?

A: The ideal patient for the Micra pacemaker is a patient who requires a single chamber pacemaker or a patient who is unable to undergo implantation of a traditional pacemaker due to inability to place leads into the heart. Your cardiologist or electrophysiologist will be able to help you determine which device is best for you.

Download your guide on irregular heartbeats – and how they’re diagnosed and treated. 


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