A leadless pacemaker is exactly as it sounds – a pacemaker that does not require wires to the heart. Currently, Dr. Tordini utilizes a leadless pacemaker called MICRA, made by device company Medtronic. It is about the size of a large pill and is implanted directly into the heart. Because it is fully self-contained, there are no leads to extract in the case of a separation and the procedure is even less invasive than a traditional pacemaker implantation.
The Micra pacemaker is implanted using advanced catheter technology. A guidewire is inserted through the groin, and this is used to thread a catheter up the femoral vein and to the heart. When in proper position, Dr. Tordini will deploy the Micra pacemaker into the appropriate area of the heart – the left ventricle. Small hooks keep the pacemaker in place and allow it to do its job longer-term. Before removing the catheter, Dr. Tordini will test the pacemaker’s grip to the myocardium and its function.
Some of the benefits of a leadless pacemaker
- Despite its small size, the Micra pacemaker has a battery life similar to that of a traditional pacemaker and can last up to 12 years, depending on the amount of pacing that it must provide.
- The placement of the leadless pacemaker is even less invasive than that of a traditional pacemaker.
- Since there are no leads to be concerned about, there is no issue with lead separation, infection or breakage and subsequent extraction.
Risks and Consideration of a Leadless Pacing system
- Some patients will not qualify for the leadless pacing system as they require a bi-ventricular pacemaker. The leadless pacemaker can only be implanted in one ventricle.
- Leadless pacemaker implantation comes with all of the inherent risks of a catheter based cardiovascular procedure including infection at the incision site, or damage to the vein or structures of the heart. These risks are mitigated with the expertise of an EP such as Dr. Tordini.
Ultimately a leadless pacemaker system is an incredible leap in technology and offers an excellent option for many patients that require a pacemaker. We encourage you to speak to Dr. Tordini at a consultation for more information about whether a leadless pacemaker is right for your particular situation.