The first pacemaker was implanted in 1960, so this technology has now been in use for over half a century. Multiple developments during that time have made it increasingly sophisticated although they are generally still implanted for the same reasons.
A pacemaker is used to prevent the effects of slow heart rhythms. These often occur with increasing age or due to other cardiac conditions. Pacemaker implantation is one of the most frequently performed cardiac procedures, with 700,000+ new implants Worldwide annually.
Below are the various pacemaker options available, have a read and be sure to get in touch for any further information or to book a consultation.
This type of pacemaker has a single lead that is used to connect the pacemaker (the pulse generator) to your right ventricle (one of the lower heart chambers). Single chamber pacing is useful in people with electrical conduction problems causing slow heart rhythms who are also persistently in a rhythm called atrial fibrillation (meaning the upper the chambers, the atria, cannot be paced), in the elderly or in people where the need for pacing is very rare and brief. These pacemakers are inserted through an incision below the collar bone.
Using two leads, this device connects to both chambers on the right side of your heart, the right atrium and right ventricle. The pacemaker is programmed to regulate the rhythm of both upper and lower chambers. This type of pacemaker is useful with electrical conduction problems causing slow heart rhythms and preserves the normal synchrony between the upper and lower chambers, mimicking the heart’s normal pattern. These pacemakers are inserted through an incision below the collar bone.
Unlike traditional pacemakers, technological advances in electronics, miniaturisation and battery chemistry have now made it possible for the development of a device small enough to be implanted entirely within the heart, but yet providing better battery life than a traditional pacemaker at under half the size.
The Micra Leadless pacemaker is a miniaturised, single chamber pacemaker system, meaning it can only pace the right ventricle of the heart, like the Single chamber pacemaker described above.
It is 93% smaller than traditional pacemakers and is delivered through a catheter (a long plastic tube) inserted through the femoral vein at the top of the right leg and implanted directly inside the right ventricle of the heart.
The Micra device eliminates the need for a separate battery under the skin, a device pocket and insertion of a pacing lead, thereby preventing many of the complications associated with traditional pacing implants but providing the same benefits.
Some of the potential benefits to Micra versus having a traditional pacemaker implant include:
Different slow heart rhythms require different types of pacing and other factors also need to be considered to see which type of pacemaker you may benefit from.