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.