Conventional pacemakers are surgically implanted. The Micra system is delivered via a minimally invasive technique, through a thin tube inserted into a vein in the patient’s groin. It then travels through the vein, making its way to the heart’s right ventricle without the use of wired leads, which often cause complications.
It is intended for patients with atrial fibrillation and other dangerous arrhythmias. The ultra low-power circuit offers an estimated average 12-year battery life.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the device in light of a Medtronic clinical trial involving 725 patients implanted with this miniaturized pacemaker. After six months, 99 percent of them experienced adequate heart pacing. Only a small fraction experienced major complications, such as cardiac damage and device dislocation.
Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.