(Credit and Copyright Medtronic (Thailand) Limited.)
The days of large sized pacemakers with leads and pockets may be behind us. There is a new leadless pacemaker the size of a large vitamin pill that does not require chest surgery. Now FDA certified and available at Bumrungrad International Hospital, Micra is nothing short of a miracle.
What Does a Pacemaker Do?
A Pacemaker is an instrument that is placed in the chest in order to correct abnormal heart rhythms, so called arrhythmias . In some cases the heart beats too fast or too slow which affects the blood supply to the body.
A pacemaker uses electrical pulses that stimulate the heart so it beats at a normal rate. Being wired to the heart, a pacemaker senses when it slows or stops beating naturally and sends an electrical impulse to restore a normal rhythm.
A traditional pacemaker is about the size of a teabag and requires implantation in the upper chest. It is intended for use in a wide range of patients.
The doctor will begin the operation with a 5 cm long incision. A lead is then threaded through a vein into the heart and connected to the pacemaker. He will program the device and place it beneath the skin where it is tested and calibrated to be sure that it is functioning properly. Once satisfied, the doctor will close the wound. This operation takes between one and two hours to complete and the patient usually remains in the hospital for observation for 24-48 hours.
The average battery life for a traditional pacemaker is about 10 years when it needs to be replaced.
Micra: The World’s Smallest Pacemaker
Micra is very small. In fact, it is 93% smaller than a traditional pacemaker. It is intended for patients who need a single chamber pacemaker.
The technique used to place it into the heart is very different from a traditional pacing system because it does not require a chest incision. Instead, the doctor will begin the procedure by making a tiny incision near the leg’s upper thigh and inserting a catheter into the femoral vein. He will then guide the Micra through the vein to the heart’s right ventricle, where it is placed against the heart wall and secured using the pacemaker’s flexible tines. Once secured, it is tested for performance, the catheter removed and the incision closed. The whole procedure typically takes less than an hour and the patient will usually stay at the hospital overnight and go home the next day.
There are no wires attached to the device and no unsightly bulge beneath the chest. It is versatile and made to either be left inside the heart indefinitely, or easily retrieved and replaced. Battery life is estimated to be slightly longer than lead-dependent pacemakers at 10-12 years.
While the Micra pacemaker may not be suitable for all heart conditions, those who receive one can enjoy a more comfortable pacemaker experience. Its small size and minimally invasive placement leaves no visible signs that there is a medical device inside the body. It allows for fewer post-implant activity restrictions and does not hinder shoulder movement. Micra is an advancement that allows people with arrhythmias to lead as normal lives as possible.
If you are experiencing any chest discomfort, would like more information concerning Micra or hope to avoid any future heart-related problems, please make an appointment today at Bumrungrad International Hospital’s Cardiology Center . The Cardiology Center is located on the 14th floor of the Bumrungrad Clinic Building and can be reached at +66 2011 3491.