First patient in Florida to receive world’s smallest, wireless pacemaker
David Bussey has had occasional problems with his heart temporarily stopping the past two years. In some cases, he would be eating and talking to his wife and just pass out.
The 81-year-old lost the energy to garden and do other things around the house that he enjoyed.
“My wife started noticing I was out of it and come to find out it was my heart. It wasn’t working right and would sometimes stop,” Mr. Bussey said.
But now his energy is coming back after being the first patient in Florida to be implanted with the world’s smallest pacemaker, which does not require wires to connect to the heart.
One-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker and comparable in size to a large vitamin, the Micra ™ Transcatheter Pacing System, by Medtronic, is placed directly into the right ventricle of the heart through a catheter inserted in the femoral vein.
The miniature device, which weighs less than a small coin, does not require the use of wires, known as “leads,” to connect to the heart. Attached to the heart via small tines, the pacemaker delivers electrical impulses that help the heart beat normally through an electrode at the end of the device.
In contrast to the traditional pacemaker implant procedures, the Micra TPS implant does not require a surgical incision in the chest and the creation of a “pocket” under the skin. This eliminates a potential source of complications, and any visible sign of the device.
Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville is one of 35 hospitals in the U.S. using the new leadless pacemaker as part of a clinical trial, which is still enrolling patients over the next six months. The other site in Florida is Miami.
“We are happy and proud of the fact that we were chosen as one of 35 centers because of our strong cardiology research division,” said Scott Lee, MD, cardiac electrophysiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists and director of electrophysiology. “This is another example of our commitment to bring cutting-edge procedures to the community and our patients here at Baptist.”
The cardiologists at Baptist Heart Specialists involved in the trial include Dr. Lee, along with cardiac electrophysiologists Venkata Sagi, MD, and Chris Ruisi, MD. Drs. Lee and Sagi are doing the procedures for this trial.
“This pacemaker is a very revolutionary idea,” said Dr. Sagi, who implanted Bussey’s pacemaker. “There are no incisions anywhere in the chest and the patient is walking in eight hours.”
The procedure involves a small hole in the groin area as opposed to the traditional pacemaker which requires an incision under the skin on the chest and wires being inserted through the arm vein.
“It’s a completely different way of doing this procedure and one that can have positive implications down the line for other types of heart devices we implant,” Dr. Lee said. “With this pacemaker being placed directly into the heart, there is minimal risk of any kind of infection.”
For David Bussey, Dr. Sagi said his heart is working on its own the majority of the time.
“He uses the pacemaker only when he needs it,” Dr. Sagi said. “Sometimes his heart will stop for a few seconds and the pacemaker will kick in automatically and keep his heart from slowing down.”
Mr. Bussey appreciates the doctors and nurses who helped him at Baptist Jacksonville. “So far I’m doing really good,” he said.
Laura Bussey says she is now able to breathe easier knowing her husband won’t pass out at any moment.
“He’s doing much better and definitely has his energy back. He has adjusted and we’re living a normal life. I’m not scared anymore that he’s going to quit breathing on me,” Mrs. Bussey said. “It is just unbelievable how this pacemaker can help people.”