World's Smallest Pacemaker Now Available at IMMC

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UnityPoint Clinic Cardiology is proud to be one of the first in Central Iowa to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker to help treat patients with bradycardia at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. Dr. Leenhapong Navaravong, UnityPoint Clinic Cardiology, implanted the first Micra Pacemaker at Iowa Methodist Medical Center on July 6. The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker, roughly the size of large vitamin capsule.

Traditionally, pacemakers are placed in the chest with leads running to the heart, but the Micra Pacemaker doesn’t use leads. Instead, the pacemaker is completely self-contained in the heart and can be placed using the femoral vein. For this reason, no large chest incisions are made; there are no scars/bumps or even the signs of a cardiac procedure that usually come with conventional pacemakers. This eliminates a majority of potential medical complications that result from a conventional pacemaker procedure.

“This is a great option for patients who have chronic atrial fibrillation (AFib) and are at an increased risk of infection, as it’s a much less invasive procedure,” says Dr. Navaravong. “It is placed in the heart through a vein in the leg so surgery is not needed.”

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 pacemaker was recently approved for Medicare reimbursement. For more information on the Micra pacemaker, visit unitypoint.org/micra or call 515-241-5700.