Published on March 27, 2018

Tiny pacemaker = big difference

Good things do come in small packages.

Take the new Micra pacemaker. It’s the world’s smallest pacemaker and the only one that doesn’t need wire leads to work. And it’s available at Mercy.

Micra pacemakerThe Micra device, available to a select group of patients, is a fraction of the size of traditional pacemakers—implanted devices used to correct slow heartbeats (a condition called bradycardia). It offers several advantages over traditional pacemakers.

The tiny device—about the size of a large vitamin pill—does not require a chest incision to install. It is guided to the heart on the end of a catheter (a flexible tube) inserted into a leg vein. Also, the one-piece unit is wireless—it doesn’t need wire leads to send signals from a separate component to the heart. That’s an advantage because wire leads can sometimes cause problems, such as difficult-to-treat infections. And over time, wires may break.

The best candidates

The Micra device isn’t for everyone, according to Marino Leonardi, MD, a Mercy cardiologist who first implanted the device at Mercy Fitzgerald. “It will be used only in a very select group of patients who may not be good candidates for a traditional pacemaker,” he says.

Patients who may benefit from the wireless pacemaker include those on dialysis for end-stage renal disease. Implanting a traditional pacemaker may be challenging in these patients because of limited vascular access, Dr. Leonardi says. The leadless pacemaker also may be a better option for those prone to infections.

“We want to provide our Mercy patients who need a pacemaker with the best available option,” says Dr. Leonardi.