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SVMHS Patient Receives World’s Smallest Pacemaker

SALINAS, CA, September 26, 2017- Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) is one of the first hospitals in California and the first in Monterey County to offer the world’s smallest and highly advanced pacemaker for patients with a slow or irregular heart rhythm. The Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) by Medtronic is FDA approved. It is the size of a large vitamin, weighs the same as a penny and is approved for full body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Harlan Grogin, MD, FACC in Cardiac Electrophysiology at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital performed the first procedure earlier this month.

“We partner with our physicians to provide the most advanced technology available,” says Pete Delgado, President/CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. “Our hospital was chosen to be among the first in the state to provide this breakthrough medical device to patients who can benefit from the technology.”

The Micra TPS device is for patients with bradycardia, 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 by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.

“Our patient had a very slow heart rhythm,” says Harlan Grogin, MD, FACC. “At times it would stop beating for up to seven seconds causing him to feel dizzy. The implantation of the Micra TPS took about an hour and we were then able to pace his heart to a more suitable rhythm. Implanting the pacemaker by using a catheter through the femoral vein also allows for a faster recovery. Our patient was able to go home hours after the procedure”.

Unlike traditional pacemakers, this device does not require cardiac wires or a surgical pocket under the skin to deliver electrical impulses to increase heart rate. The pacemaker is so small it is delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads. It also allows for physicians to retrieve data from the patient remotely via the Medtronic Carelink Network.

“Dr. Grogin is amazing and so is this technology”, says patient Dwight Johnson Jr. “I’m very active and a traditional pacemaker was not going to work with my level of exercise. I was back to myself the same day and just went on a 17 mile bike ride. I don’t see it and don’t even know it’s there.”

The Micra TPS can be retrieved from the heart when necessary, however it is designed to be left in the body. For patients who need more than one heart device, the miniaturized Micra TPS was designed with a unique feature that enables it to be permanently turned off so it can remain in the body and a new device can be implanted without risk of electrical interaction. The Micra TPS is approved for Medicare reimbursement.