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Bridgeport Hospital offers the world’s smallest pacemaker

Thursday, February 1, 2018

BRIDGEPORT, CT (Feb. 1, 2018) – Bridgeport Hospital is one of the first hospitals in Connecticut to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker for patients with bradycardia. The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device, approved for Medicare reimbursement,that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker.

The first procedure at Bridgeport Hospital was performed by cardiac electrophysiologist Murali Chiravuri, MD, in September. Electrophysiologists Adam Lottick, MD, and Robert Winslow, MD, have also implanted the device in patients at the hospital.

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.

“The Micra is an order of magnitude smaller than previous pacemakers, comparable in size to a large vitamin,” said Dr. Chiravuri. “Furthermore, they do not require a ‘pocket’ in which to store the device and there are no leads in the blood vessels, which prevent potential infection and vessel obstruction.”

The Micra TPS is also designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels and incorporates a feature to retrieve the device when possible, although the device is designed to be left in the body. For patients who need more than one heart device, the miniaturized Micra TPS is 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 and is designed to allow patients to be followed by their physicians and send data remotely via the Medtronic CareLink Network.

The Micra TPS was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2016, and has been granted Medicare reimbursement, allowing broad patient access to the novel pacing technology.

“The Micra is yet another step toward less invasive and more discrete therapies to provide the same benefit as much larger devices did in the past, said Dr. Chiravuri.

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