Providence becomes first in northwest to implant world's smallest pacemaker

November 19, 2014
Caption: Dr. Randy Jones (left) and Dr. Ethan Korngold from Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, with Bill Pike, who’s holding the Micra pacemaker – the smallest in the world. Pike is the first patient in the Northwest to receive the Micra.

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center has become the first medical center in the Northwest to take part in a clinical trial investigating the world’s smallest pacemaker. The Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is one-tenth the size of traditional pacemakers – about the size of a large vitamin. It does not require the use of wires to connect to the heart, and does not require a surgical incision in the chest.

“I’m doing great,” said Bill Pike, Providence’s first patient to receive the Micra. “When they first showed this little thing to me, they said we could do this if I was willing. Who wouldn’t be willing?”

The miniature device is placed directly into the heart using a common minimally invasive procedure – a catheter that is inserted into a vein in the patient’s leg. Once the Micra is pushed into place, small tines are used to attach it to the heart wall. The Micra then delivers electrical impulses through a tiny electrode on the end of the device, which help the heart beat at a normal rhythm.

Caption: The Micra, shown here next to a quarter, is about the size of a large vitamin pill.

“Because of its small size, this pacemaker can be implanted into the patient without a surgical incision in the chest. This less invasive process may lead to faster recovery times, said Randy Jones, M.D., electrophysiologist with Providence Heart and Vascular Institute. “And the fact that this technology is wireless can reduce the chances of device-related complications.”

Providence Heart and Vascular Institute is one of 35 centers across the U.S. participating in the Micra clinical trial.

“The trial of the Micra is the latest in an exciting year of technological advances that are helping change the way we treat patients,” said Dan Oseran, M.D., medical director, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute. The institute recently announced a $25 million gift from Phil and Penny Knight. The gift will be used to kick off the heart institute’s $50 million Next Generation campaign, designed to bring the most advanced treatments and innovations to patients served by Providence, Oregon’s leading provider of cardiac care.

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