St. Luke’s leads region in use of world’s smallest pacemaker

The pacemaker has been around since 1960 and has made an incredible contribution to the health and wellness of millions of people around the world.  Nearly everybody knows someone who benefits from a pacemaker.

Medical science is always advancing, and St. Luke’s is leading the region by offering the world’s smallest pacemaker—the Micra™, which is the size of a vitamin-capsule.

Pacemakers are used to treat bradycardia, which is a low heart rate.  A traditional pacemaker is located under the collarbone and connects to the heart using “leads.”  It senses when the heart needs to be sped up and uses electric impulses to get it done.

For patients who need a single chamber pacemaker, Micra accomplishes the same thing but in a much smaller package.  Micra is 93% smaller than conventional pacemakers, and therefore offers significant benefits.

For example, Micra is completely self-contained within the heart. It eliminates potential medical complications arising from a chest incision and from wires running from a conventional pacemaker into the heart.  These complications include infection and a collapsed lung, among others.

Research has demonstrated that patients with a Micra experience half the complications of a traditional pacemaker.  This reduction has been noted both 3 months and 12 months after the device is installed.  In fact, after 12 months the complication rate is 63% lower.

Micra is also less invasive.  The device is placed in the heart via a vein in the leg, without a chest incision, scar, or the bump that results from conventional pacemakers.

“St. Luke’s implants more Micra pacemakers than any other hospital in the region,” said Charles Gbur, MD.  “When it is appropriate for a patient, Micra offers the same effectiveness with significantly fewer complications and a higher quality of life.”

Like a conventional pacemaker, Micra is powered by a battery which lasts around 12 years.  Unlike conventional pacemakers, when it comes time to replace the battery it is possible for the existing device to be turned off and a new Micra implanted using the same minimally-invasive procedure.

The Micra pacemaker is yet another example of the life-saving services available at St. Luke’s. Along with the new hybrid OR and electrophysiology lab, patients can be sure that St. Luke’s offers the highest level of cardiac care.

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