Medtronic implants pacemaker without surgery

Little-noticed from earlier this week, but worth mentioning: Medtronic (MDT) on Monday announced the first human implant of the world's smallest pacemaker, the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System.

One-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker, the unit was installed not with surgery, but directly into the heart with a catheter inserted in the femoral vein.

" Once positioned, the pacemaker is securely attached to the heart wall and can be repositioned if needed,"  says the company.

The race begins: In October, St. Jude Medical (STJ) purchased Nanostim, a private manufacturer of a similar device. Nanostim's offering is being readied for European markets, but has not yet won formal FDA approval, though it has been given additional approval through an exemption for "investigational" devices.

Medtronic's unit has been granted investigational status worldwide.

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Comments (1)
  • Total Return Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (1386) | Send Message
    As the recipient of a pacemaker last summer, I applaud the great reduction in size Medtronic has achieved with this new unit. Mine looks like an unattractive goose egg beneath my collar bone.


    What I wonder about, though, is what happens when the battery runs down? With a conventional pacemaker, the leads from the unit to the wall of the heart stay in place. When the battery has finally expired, all that is required is to make a new incision beneath the collar bone, remove the old unit, and then hook a new unit to the leads (every 9 years or so). That is surgical child's play. With direct implantation onto the heart wall, however, it would seem that replacement when the battery finally expires will be a much bigger deal. And how can a unit one tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker contain a battery that could power it anywhere near 9 years?


    In any case, Medtronic continues to push the curve. That's why I have invested in it.
    13 Dec 2013, 10:35 PM Reply Like
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