Micra: The World’s Smallest Non-Surgically Implanted Pacemaker
It’s called Micra. Its name alone describes the amazing technology in this revolutionary pacemaker that is quickly changing the lives of thousands of people with access to this device.
Up until recently, pacemakers were implanted through delicate open heart surgery. Over time, the size of these devices have reduced, always with the goal of controlling the patient’s heart rhythm.
It was at the end of 2013 that the company Medtronic showed the world something novel, somewhat sophisticated and a revolution in the field of medicine.
This was the Micra, the smallest pacemaker in the world that could also be implanted without needing surgical intervention.
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Micra, beating with life
While this device was introduced in 2013, it is well known that the time to approve, promote and distribute any new technology or drug is very slow.
- Micra received CE approval in 2015, which is when its promotion and distribution began within the European Union.
- After strict tests, it showed great efficiency and reliability compared to traditional pacemakers. Something revolutionary that since then has only brought hope and good results.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Micra around the middle of this year (2016).Up to now, the implants that have been performed have been very positive, and we have found that this pacemaker is covered by most health insurance plans.
Characteristics of the world’s smallest pacemaker
The Micra pacemaker measures 24 mm. It is similar in size to a 1 euro coin. Between 2014 and 2015 it passed all experimental tests in a global trial which effectively confirmed its innovative technology.
The following are the characteristics of this pacemaker:
- It is a subcutaneous capsule, without cables or battery.
- To implant it, it is not necessary to operate.
- It is installed in the patient’s heart via trans-catheter technology, passing through a vein in the person’s groin until it is lodged in the right ventricle.
- This innovative pacemaker remains in place using small teeth or stitches to the heart itself. No cables needed.
- After that, it begins to emit electric impulses to maintain the heartbeat, adjusting to the patient’s activity.
- It is not necessary to insert any “surgical pocket under the skin.” In other words, no one notices that the patient has a pacemaker because it is invisible. The capsule remains firmly “installed” in the heart itself.
- No longer are incisions, scarring wounds or long hospital stays necessary.
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A huge change for heart patients
This new technology is not only a clinical advance. We must not forget the psychological impact upon patients who must undergo surgery to implant a pacemaker.
- This device is applied in a simple way that doesn’t leave any scars. If there are any problems, it can be simply “reinstalled.”
- According to experts, the Micra is completely stable once installed. Unlike traditional pacemakers, it does not damage heart tissue in any way.
- This is an advance in heart disease treatment which provides doctors and patients a solution that is both simple and safe.
Negative Aspects to Keep in Mind
The Micra pacemaker is a complete revolution in the clinical world and with heart patients right now. However, doctors tell us this is only the beginning.
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We hope that in a few years, this system will bring solutions for all cases. There are also hopes that the durability of this device will improve over time.
Right now, the Micra has the following limitations:
- It lasts only 10 years, then it must be replaced.
- Another detail to keep in mind is that this device cannot be used for very obese patients. There are major limitations, and more advances are necessary to guarantee the right results.
- Also, we can’t forget that the Micra cannot be installed in patients who already have traditional pacemakers.
Those who cannot benefit right now from this technology will have to continue with currently available devices to control their heart rate (which are equally effective).
We hope that in coming years science will continue advancing to provide a simple and effective answer to grave problems such as heart disease.