French Hospital Medical Center announced Wednesday it will now offer the world’s smallest pacemaker for patients with bradycardia, a condition defined by the American Heart Association as a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute.
Officials at the San Luis Obispo hospital said in a news release the cardiac electrophysiology program is the first in the county to implement the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System. The heart device, which is approved for Medicare reimbursement, provides patients “with the most advanced pacing technology available at only one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker.”
The first procedure implementing the device was recently performed at French Hospital by cardiac electrophysiologist Chris Porterfield, according to the release.
The tiny device is shaped like a bullet and is shorter than a paper clip.
Patients with bradycardia may not be able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells, the release said.
Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia in order to help restore the heart’s normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.
“French Hospital’s Copeland, Forbes and Rossi Cardiac Care Center is thrilled to be able to offer the most advanced leadless pacing technology available to our cardiac patients,” French Hospital Medical Center President and CEO Alan Iftiniuk said in the release. “This outstanding advancement adds to the electrophysiology capabilities at our facility, alleviating the need to travel for quality heart care.”
The miniaturized Micra TPS also was designed with a feature that enables it to be permanently turned off so it can remain in the body and a new device can be implanted without risk of electrical interaction.