MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute Offers Patients World’s Smallest Pacemaker

Miniature Heart Device Provides Patients with the Most Advanced Pacing Technology Available

March 13, 2017

BALTIMORE, Md – [March 13, 2017]  The MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is now offering the Micra trans-catheter pacing system (TPS), the world’s smallest and most advanced pacemaker available, to patients with bradycardia and other single chamber cardiac rhythm disorders.  Drs. Glenn Meininger and David Schamp first used the wireless device last week when they implanted the vitamin-sized pacemaker directly into a patient’s heart.

Weighing the same as a penny, TPS is one tenth of the size of standard pacemakers.  

Dr. Meininger, medical director of the electrophysiological program for the Baltimore region, implanted the device by inserting a wire catheter through a small incision in the groin and threading the TPS through the femoral artery, into the right ventricle of the patient’s heart.  The fully miniaturized pacemaker is self-contained with a battery, and attaches to the heart with small tines.  By comparison, a standard pacemaker is surgically implanted under the collar bone, or sewn into a pocket flap of skin. It attaches to the heart with electrode wires that run through the chest’s venous system to the device. 

“This little device is quite sophisticated in its design,” said Dr. Meininger. “Because it’s implanted minimally invasively, there’s significantly less risk of complications or infection.  It’s cosmetically invisible- no surgical scar, and the patient can be active almost immediately after its implanted.  This is truly an exciting advancement in cardiac rhythm pacing therapy, and I am happy to be able to offer the option to our patients.”

Like a standard pacemaker, TPS sends electrical impulses to the heart to help restore a normal heart rhythm to patients suffering bradycardia, a slow heart rhythm.  Bradycardia impedes the heart’s ability to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells

The Micra TPS has a 12-year battery and is designed to be retrievable.

For more information on the Micra pacemaker at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, go to www.medstarheart.org/smallestpacemaker.

About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation, and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

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