Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital brings the world’s smallest pacemaker to Montgomery County

By: Amy Barnett, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital
| Published 11/13/2017

World's smallest pacemaker Methodist The Woodlands
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THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital is the first community hospital in the Houston region to implant the world’s smallest pacemaker into a patient with bradycardia, a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm.

The Micra ® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device which provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. This new device, approved for Medicare reimbursement, is the first and only pacemaker to be approved for both 1.5 and 3 Tesla (T) full-body MRI scans and is designed to allow patients to be followed by their physicians by sending data to the physicians remotely. The hospital’s first procedure was performed by Drs. Rajesh Venkataraman and Ramesh Hariharan in August. Today, Venkataraman has performed five of these procedures at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital.

Pacemakers are commonly used to help restore the heart's normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate. The new device is the size of a vitamin and, unlike other pacemakers, 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, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers – all while being cosmetically invisible. The small pacemaker is designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels.

“Patients who have a traditional pacemaker will go home with their left arm in a sling for 10 days and they can’t get the wound wet for several days; it can be very restricting,” said Venkataraman. “Patients with this new, smaller pacemaker return home with no restrictions on what they can or cannot do. This is a great benefit of the device.”

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