Patients receive innovative new heart pacemaker

Cardiovascular patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are amongst a handful in the UK to be fitted with an innovative new wireless pacemaker.

Pacemakers support the functioning of the heart in patients who are at risk of their heart beating too slowly. The pacemaker emits an electrical pulse to the heart if it senses that the heart has missed a beat or is beating too slowly. Standard pacemakers have a generator which is positioned under the skin near the collarbone in the chest and a lead or leads which pass via a vein into the heart.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is one of just a number of Trusts in the UK to have implanted a new type of mini-pacemaker that is fully self-contained. The major advantage of the device is that there is no need for a generator to be placed behind the chest wall and no leads are left in the veins.

Two patients have been fitted with the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System device measuring just 24 millimetres long and 0.75 cubic centimetres in volume which is implanted via a vein in the leg directly into the heart muscle. The new smaller, self-contained pacemaker provides multiple benefits to patients including:

  • less risk of the pacemaker becoming infected because there are no leads in the veins and no generator in the chest;
  • no risk of the veins becoming narrowed or blocked because there are no leads in the vein;
  • quicker recovery time because the surgery to implant the device is less invasive;
  • less discomfort or chest scarring because there is no generator in the chest wall; and
  • the device can be implanted in patients whose veins leading to heart are narrowed or blocked.

Cardiologist, Dr Zachary Whinnett, said:

“Wireless pacemakers signify a major advancement in cardiac pacing. Here at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust we are helping to lead the way in mainstreaming these devices which I hope in time will become the standard way to pace people’s hearts.”

Notes to editors

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System has been developed Minneapolis based company Medtronic.