Unity Health Cardiologist, Dr. Eric Robinson, is one of the small number of physicians in the state of Arkansas now offering the smallest pacemaker for patients with slow or irregular heart rhythms.
The Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. The Micra TPS is about the size of a large vitamin and unlike traditional pacemakers, the device does not require cardiac wires or a surgical "pocket" under the skin. Instead, the device is small enough to be contained within the heart itself all while being cosmetically invisible.
"Wire malfunctions are completely eliminated," Robinson said. "In addition, battery life is expected to be longer compared to a traditional pacemaker, but perhaps the biggest improvement is from a patient perspective. Patients will not even be aware they have a pacemaker as there are no external reminders of a traditional pacemaker."
The ideal candidate for the Micra TPS are patients with bradycardia or chronic atrial fib, however, Robinson said there are other indications for implant as well and feels this is the first step in a revolutionary change in pacemakers with most future pacemakers using similar technology to the Micra pacemaker.
The Micra TPS is designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient's activity levels. The device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2016 and has been granted Medicare reimbursement.
"We have already implanted four devices within the first month of offering the procedure to our patients," Robinson said. "All implants have been successful with no complications and excellent results … this is truly revolutionary technology and just the beginning of significant changes in pacemaker implants and technology."