February 5, 2019

The World’s Smallest Pacemaker Helps Keep the Heart Stronger than Ever

Heart Month - Mission Health, World's Smallest PacemakerBy Ferriss Roberts

Irreplaceable and meant to last – sounds more like a promising love story than advancements in healthcare technology, but we promise it’s still good for the heart.

If doctors would have told us 60 years ago a device the size of a vitamin could keep the heart going, we wouldn’t have believed them. But here we are, about 60 years since the first pacemaker, and the latest pacemaker device is – well, the size of a vitamin.

From first being plugged into walls to battery-operated to now weighing as much (or as light!) as a penny, technology has helped develop a pacemaker that changes care and treatment options for patients with abnormal heart rhythms.

Evolution of the Pacemaker

A new pacemaker, “Micra TPS,” designed and developed by Medtronic, is the world’s smallest pacemaker. Less invasive with a less chance of risk or complications in the short- and long-term, the Micra pacemaker is described as “cosmetically invisible.” With a 10-year battery life, the transcatheter pacemaker eventually grows into the heart muscle to help the heart beat at a normal rate. If another battery is needed, another device can be inserted right next to it.

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Mission Heart Brings the World’s Smallest Pacemaker to WNC

Mission Heart at Mission Hospital in Asheville is the first hospital in western North Carolina to offer this pacemaker to our patients.

The Mission Heart care team is especially excited about what this means for our patients to help treat arrhythmias. “These devices have been implanted around the world, and I’m really excited to bring this technology to Asheville,” said John Rhyner, MD, cardiologist at Asheville Cardiology Associates, in a segment that appeared on WLOS.

Watch the WLOS Health Alert to learn more about the placement of the device and hear more from the first patient at Mission Hospital to receive the world’s smallest pacemaker: click here to watch the health alert.

Are you heart healthy? Take our Heart Health Quiz.

Mission Heart has been a regional leader in cardiothoracic surgery and heart care for more than 40 years. Our award-winning team maintains years of specialized clinical experience, and our physician teams with Asheville Cardiology Associates and Asheville Heart deliver a team-oriented, comprehensive approach to patient heart issues with a high level of technical expertise and experience. IBM Watson Health has recognized Mission Heart as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital for the thirteenth time.

Learn more about heart services and care with Mission Health at missionhealth.org/heart