Micra Leadless Pacemaker
The Micra leadless pacemaker, made by Medtronic, is the world’s smallest pacemaker and does not require leads as would a typical, traditional pacemaker. The Micra device is implanted straight into the heart and uses a catheter-based delivery system with advanced imaging technology to minimize downtime and risks of the procedure. Being that it has no leads, the microsystem is self-contained, meaning that the electrical delivery system, as well as the pulse generator, are all contained in one tiny package. In fact, Micra is up to 90% smaller than traditional pacemakers.
How the Micra pacemaker system is implanted
The implantation process for the Micra pacemaker is straightforward. Your electrophysiologist will make a small incision in the groin and insert a catheter into a vein. By using advanced imaging technology, such as fluoroscopy or ultrasound, the catheter is threaded up to the right ventricle of the heart. The Micra device is then implanted, and the catheter is removed.
The Micra system allows for MRI scans and is not affected by metal detectors. It is also safe to use with normally-functioning, household appliances.
Due to the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, patients are often able to return to their daily activities soon after the procedure. Follow-ups will be scheduled at approximately one month after the procedure, then every six months to a year after that.
Battery life and longevity considerations
Despite its tiny size, Micra provides significant battery life of between eight and thirteen years. However, it will eventually wear down and will either need to be switched off permanently or explanted. A new Micra device can then be implanted and will perform similarly for approximately another decade.
Benefits of the Micra Procedure
- Due to its very small size, patients will never feel, or be aware of, their pacemaker.
- Battery life is on the high end of traditional pacemakers, despite its size.
- Catheter technology allows the Micra to be placed without major surgery.
- It eliminates the potential for migration of leads.
Risks of the Micra Procedure
- As with any catheter-based procedure, there are some risks that include damage to the blood vessel used to thread the catheter to the heart, as well as potential damage to the structure of the heart itself.
- The Micra battery may fail prematurely.
- As with any procedure involving the heart, there are some risks which will be discussed during consultation.
The Bottom Line
The Micra leadless pacemaker device is a novel system that provides a host of benefits over a traditional pacemaker. However, of course, not all patients will qualify for implantation of the micro device. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our electrophysiologists to learn more about whether this device may be right for you.