With a steep rise in the cases of heart related ailments, pacemakers have become an important part of the cardiac jargon. Every other day, we hear about someone undergoing a surgery for getting this pacemaker fixed. These conventional pacemakers are surgically implanted and require wired leads that run from the pacemaker to an implant located just below the collarbone.
These leads run through a vein directly into the heart’s right ventricle, delivering electrical impulses to treat irregular or stalled heartbeats. The greatest problem with these wires is that they sometimes malfunction, sometimes developing infections in the surrounding tissue. To overcome these problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an injectable pacemaker that doesn’t require wired leads. This pacemaker is the world’s smallest as it is about one tenth the size of traditional pacemakers. The device is one inch long and is called the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System.
The new pacemaker is intended for patients with arterial fibrillation and other dangerous arrhythmias, including bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome. The clinical trials of this pacemaker involved 719 patients out of which 98 percent experienced adequate heart pacing. There were 7 percent patients who experienced major complications like cardiac injuries, device dislocation and blood clots. Because the small device doesn’t use any wired leads, it latches onto the heart using small hooks and delivers electrical pulses that keep the pace of the heart normal. However the FDA has made it clear that this device should not be used for patients who already have implanted devices because there is a chance that they could interfere with the functioning of the pacemaker. It also can’t be used for severely obese people and for those who are intolerant or allergic to materials in the device or the blood thinner heparin.