Tiniest Pacemaker Calls Heart Home

The world’s smallest pacemaker is here, and it’s changing the future of cardiac pacing.

Wireless and the size of a large vitamin, the Micra™ is 93 percent smaller than conventional pacemakers. It is implanted directly into the heart via a catheter – rather than being surgically placed in the chest.

The Micra™ has tiny hooks that attach to muscular fibers in the right ventricle. “It’s less than 1 percent of the space of that chamber, so the heart doesn’t even know it’s there,” said Joseph Thibodeau, MD, CHI Health cardiologist.

The pacemaker is placed in the heart via a leg vein and recovery takes a fraction of the time required for traditional pacemakers. “There’s a lower risk of complications and infections, and battery life is longer at 13 years,” said Dr. Thibodeau.

The Micra™ is for patients who have permanent atrial fibrillation and need a single-chamber pacemaker. A newer version called the Micra™ AV is now available for patients who need a conventional dual-chamber pacemaker.

“Now that the new device is available, the numbers will quadruple as more people will be candidates,” Dr. Thibodeau said.

Joseph B. Thibodeau, MD

Cardiology