Cardiologists at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital will be first in the region to implant the world’s smallest, leadless pacemaker, potentially reducing complications in cardiac patients.
The device – called the “Micra” -- was approved April 2016 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in a limited number of cardiac patients.
What differentiates this technology is the Micra is only about an inch long and is implanted directly into the heart’s right ventricle. The device has four prongs that directly provide electrical pulses to regulate heart beat.
Traditional pacemakers are inserted near the collarbone under the skin and are considerably larger. Leads connect from the device into veins and send electrical pulses to keep the heart regulated. However, those leads can – over time – create complications. The arteries can cling to the leads and the leads can become dislodged or become infected. Also, in younger patients, more leads can be put in veins over time, potentially limiting blood flow.
“We are excited to offer this option to our patients,” says Michael Lim, MD, co-director of the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care (C4) at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and a SLUCare physician. “Pacemakers have saved countless lives by keeping a patient’s heart beating at a normal rhythm, by having this option for our patients we can offer a full spectrum of care.”
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that compared to traditional pacemakers, the Micra had significantly fewer major complications and number of hospital stays.
For more information about heart care at SSM Health SLU Hospital, visit ssmhealth.com/sluhospital.