Bradycardia is a condition that is caused by a heart rate that is slower than normal. In most cases, “normal” is defined to be approximately 60 beats per minute, but there are exceptions. In some instances, patients living with bradycardia may not notice any symptoms unless their heart rate drops below 50 beats per minute into dangerous levels.

One of the common treatments for bradycardia is implanting a pacemaker inside the heart in order to electronically manage the patient’s heart rate. In 2016, the FDA approved the use of the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker, which is the smallest pacemaker in the world.

What is MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker?

The MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker is a new type of leadless pacemaker that was approved for use by the FDA on April 6, 2016. It is 93% smaller than traditional pacemakers, which makes it approximately the size of a large vitamin pill. The MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker is inserted via a catheter into the heart and it is intended to accomplish the same goals as conventional pacemakers, namely regulating the heart rate for bradycardia patients without the use of leads.

One of the most innovative features associated with this new pacemaker is that it detects changes in your activity level and adjusts your heart rate accordingly. Also, the device has an estimated battery life of 12 years, although performance will vary for individual patients.

MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker vs Traditional Pacemakers

The most noticeable factor that distinguishes the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker from conventional pacemakers is obviously the size, but that is not where the differences end. According to a global patient trial there were 48% fewer complications recorded with the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker when compared with control pacemakers, and 99% of the cases resulted in a successful implant of the device.

Many traditional pacemakers are inserted into the body with leads. However, the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker is inserted into the right ventricle via a catheter. This means that no leads are needed to insert the MICRA, making the procedure is minimally invasive.

MICRA is safe for use with MRI machines and airport security. Most household appliances that are in good working order, including microwave ovens and large appliances, are also safe to use with the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker.

Candidates for the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker

The MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker is not suited for everyone. It is usually intended for patients who require a ventricular pacemaker, or one that is placed within a single chamber. The MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker works well for people with kidney problems or those who need dialysis. It also is good for people who have difficulty accessing blood vessels.

The MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker Procedure

When the procedure begins, a small catheter will be inserted into a vein in your leg. The catheter will then deliver the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker directly into the right ventricle, where small tines will hold the device in place and the electrode can be activated.

After recovering from the procedure, most patients will be able to resume their normal activity levels, but make sure you consult with your doctor in order to make sure it is recommended. Typically the first follow-up with your doctor will occur one month after the procedure, with additional checkups occurring every six or twelve months as suggested.

If you believe you may be suffering from a heart rhythm disorder, speak to your doctor about visiting the cardiac electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants for more information, testing and treatment options including the MICRA Medtronic Pacemaker.

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