TMH Now Offers the World's Smallest Pacemaker

March 21, 2017

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) announced that it is one of the first hospitals in Florida to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker for patients with bradycardia. Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. Micra is the only leadless pacemaker approved for use in the U.S. Farhat Khairallah, MD, FACC, FHRS; Venkata Bavikati, MD, MPH; Marilyn Cox, MD, FACC and Gadi Silberman, MD, electrophysiologists at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, are the first physicians in the North Florida area to train with and offer this new technology to patients. Only 75 physicians in the country were selected to train with this technology and four of them practice exclusively at TMH.

Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells. Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help restore the heart's normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.

“Having all of our electrophysiologists at TMH selected to train on the Micra technology is a testament to the level of care and experience we provide patients,” explained Farhat Khairallah, MD, FACC, FHRS. “We have worked hard to recruit the best possible physicians to our team with the commitment that we would continue to offer the latest treatment options for our patients and we are holding true to our word.”

Comparable in size to a large vitamin, physicians at TMH have elected to use the Medtronic Micra TPS because unlike traditional pacemakers, the device does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket” under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy. Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads – all while being cosmetically invisible. The Micra TPS is also designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels.

The Micra TPS also incorporates a retrieval feature to enable retrieval of the device when possible; however, the device is designed to be left in the body. For patients who need more than one heart device, the miniaturized Micra TPS was designed with a unique 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.

The Micra TPS is the first and only transcatheter pacing system to be approved for both 1.5 and 3 Tesla (T) full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, providing patients with access to the most advanced imaging diagnostic procedures available, if and when they need one.