In technology, smaller is often better. And for those who need the assistance of a pacemaker, miniaturization could mean the difference between a non-invasive catheter procedure and invasive surgery.
Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc. announced the first human implant of what they claim is the world's smallest pacemaker as part of a global clinical trial. At only one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker, the Medtronic's version is delivered into the heart using a catheter that's inserted into the femoral vein. The pacemaker itself is attached to the heart wall with small tines instead of wires (leads).
Although catheter procedures are commonly used to implant stents and artifical heart valves, catheter placement is a milestone for pacemaker technology.
In announcing the successful implantation of this pacemaker, Pat Mackin, president of the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business and senior vice president at Medtronic, said: "[The technology] is an example of the significant investment we have made in disruptive technology, specifically the miniaturization of implantable cardiac devices. Less invasive, miniature device technologies show strong promise in improving patient outcomes and implant procedure efficiency."