Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois implants tiny pacemaker in first procedure at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s

stelizabethpacemaker1O’FALLON, Ill. — HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has announced the first implantation of one of the world’s smallest pacemakers to help treat patients with the slow heart rate condition known as bradycardia.

The trademarked Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker – about the size of a large vitamin.

Dr. Paban Saha of Prairie Heart and Vascular Institute of Illinois performed the first procedure at St. Elizabeth’s on Jan. 4.

Betty Lappe, 80 of Steeleville, Ill., had been suffering from irregular heart rhythm, or bradycardia, which often leads to dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath. Lappe noted her shortness of breath had her struggling to just walk from the front door to her car. Before her procedure, Lappe told Dr. Saha, “We’ll make history together,” in reference to being the first patient at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to receive this miniature device.

Unlike traditional pacemakers, the Medtronic’s Micra TPS does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket” under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy. Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines or prongs, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads – all while being cosmetically invisible. The Micra TPS is also designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels.

stelizabethpacemaker2“Patients with bradycardia, or slow heart rates, may have symptoms related to the body not getting enough oxygen-rich blood circulated.” Dr. Saha said. “This may lead to symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadness, or inability to exercise.” 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.

“For the right patient, I’m excited to be able to offer this newest generation of pacemaker which has no wires and chest incisions. This will reduce complications and have better patient outcomes,” Dr. Saha added.

“In working with our Prairie Heart partners, we chose to invest in this advanced technology because it offers the newest and safest pacing therapy for our patients,” said St. Elizabeth’s President and CEO Peg Sebastian. “I am proud to have the forward-thinking physicians of Prairie and our highly-trained cardiology colleagues at our new facility providing such a wide-range of advanced procedures to the residents of Southern Illinois.”

The Micra TPS is the first and only transcatheter pacing system to be approved for full-body magnetic resonance imaging scans and is designed to allow patients to be followed by their physicians and send data remotely via the Medtronic CareLink Network. It 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.

PHOTOS: Dr. Paban Saha of Prairie Heart and Vascular Institute of Illinois performed the first procedure at St. Elizabeth’s on Jan. 4. to implant a Micra TPS in Betty Lappe, 80 of Steeleville, Ill., who had been suffering from irregular heart rhythm, or bradycardia, which often leads to dizziness and fatigue.

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