Bradycardia is a common arrhythmia disorder defined as a slow heartbeat or a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute. When the heart beats too slow it can’t supply enough blood filled with oxygen to the brain causing shortness of breath, confusion, fatigue, fainting, dizziness, and in extreme cases, cardiac arrest.
For many people, such as young, fit adults, bradycardia does not cause any problems; however, in some, particularly in adults 65 and older, it can be a sign of a more serious problem within the heart’s electrical system.
What is a Pacemaker?
A common treatment option for bradycardia is called a pacemaker, a small, battery-operated generator that is surgically implanted just under the skin of the chest to help monitor and regulate the heart’s rhythm. When the heart beats too slowly, a small electrical impulse is sent to the heart to restore it to its normal rhythm. Typically, when a pacemaker is implanted, the generator has wires or leads that are also implanted inside the chambers of the heart that connect the pacemaker to the heart.
Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS)
Recently approved by the FDA, the Micra® transcatheter pacing system is the world’s smallest pacemaker and is now available at Penn Medicine for select patients. Micra is single-chamber pacemaker that is about the size of a vitamin and can be implanted directly into the heart, thus eliminating the need for the leads to also be implanted.
The minimally invasive procedure allows electrophysiologists to implant the pacemaker through a catheter in the leg so no chest incision is needed. In addition to the the cosmetic benefits, this helps reduce complications such as infections.
Penn Heart and Vascular was one of the first in the region to implant the Micra transcatheter leadless pacing system. To find out if Micra is right for you, schedule a consultation with an electrophysiologist today.