Published on December 23, 2016

Worlds smallest pacemaker implanted at Genesis

Foreman First In Region to Implant “World’s Smallest Pacemaker’’

Charles Hutchinson's heartbeat seemed to him to be all over the place; fast sometimes, slow sometimes. He was also experiencing fatigue.

On December 23, at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Hutchinson had a Medtronic Micra pacemaker deployed into his heart to stabilize his heart rate.

Electrophysiologist Blair Foreman, M.D., of Cardiovascular Medicine PC, became the first physician between Chicago and Des Moines to implant the pacing device that is 93 percent smaller than conventional pacemakers.

Size of the pacemakerOnly a 1/3-inch incision in the groin area was necessary to implant what is called the world's smallest pacemaker in the heart of Hutchinson, a 75-year-old from Fulton, Ill., with a history of heart issues. The Micra device is about the size of a fingertip.

Less than three hours after the start of the brief procedure, Hutchinson said he was feeling fine and was hopeful some of his previous issues will be improved.

“There are three advantages we believe to this pacemaker. Less risk of complications, hopefully lower risk of infection and better patient acceptance and compliance because the pacemaker is so small,” Foreman said following the procedure. “With larger pacemakers, sometimes the patients report it bothered them to lie on the side of the pacemaker.

“A larger incision is required for larger pacemakers and there is also less pulling and tugging on the patient with this procedure compared to other pacemakers.”

Another contrast from traditional pacemakers is that the Micra is implanted directly into the patient’s heart and is self-contained within the heart. Most pacemakers are placed in the patient’s chest with leads running to the heart.

Foreman said the larger incision required to implant other pacemakers also could cause discomfort for 7-10 days.

“He should have very little discomfort from this procedure,” Foreman said. “Because this is the first one we've done, we'll watch him overnight but quite often the patient goes home the same day.”

Foreman said the Micra is not for all patients.

“It is for patients who have never had a pacemaker previously and for patients who have experienced both a slow and a rapid heartbeat,” Foreman explained. “It may start out as a small number of patients who receive this pacemaker but we expect an expansion of that number with new indications for its use.”

The skills and experience of the cardiologists, heart surgeons and the professionals providing support allow the Genesis heart team to introduce procedures and participate in clinical trials available to patients close to home.

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