World's smallest pacemaker implanted for first time ever by two Saudi hospitals
King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital and Prince Sultan Cardiac Center were the first two medical facilities to use the device. Image used for illustrative purposes. (Twitter)
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Two Saudi hospitals — King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital (KFAFH) and Prince Sultan Cardiac Center (PSCC) — have become the first medical facilities in the world to use the smallest pacemaker.
Dr. Raed Sweidan and Dr. Fayez Boukhari, KFAFH consultant electrophysiologists, and Dr. Ahmad Al-Fagih and Dr. Khaled Dagriri, PSCC consultant electrophysiologists, successfully implanted the devices in five patients.
“This new advanced miniaturized technology is highly favored by patients because of its small size and unique design,” Al-Fagih told Arab News on Monday.
This procedure, he said, can benefit patients by potentially reducing complications and recovery times observed with traditional surgical pacemaker implants.
At less than the size of traditional pacemakers, and comparable in size to a large vitamin capsule, the pacemaker — the Micra TPS — provides the most advanced pacing technology available while being cosmetically invisible.
“It’s also small enough to be delivered with minimally invasive techniques through a catheter, and implanted directly into the heart,” he said.
He said that once positioned, the pacemaker is attached to the heart wall and can be repositioned or retrieved if necessary.
“Unlike other traditional pacemakers, the Micra TPS does not require the use of wires known as leads or a surgical ‘pocket’ under the skin,” he said.
Instead, he said, the device “is attached to the heart with small tines and delivers electrical impulses that pace the heart through an electrode at the end of the device.”
Despite its miniaturized size, the pacemaker has an estimated 10-year battery life. The device responds to patients’ activity levels by automatically adjusting therapy, he said.
He added that it is approved for full body MRI scans to provide patients with access to the most advanced imaging diagnostic procedures.
He also said that pacemaker therapy is the most common way to treat bradycardia, a slow heartbeat, with more than 1 million pacemakers implanted worldwide each year.
Al-Fagih said that the Micra TPS is available for patients who benefit from single-chamber pacing as it paces one chamber of the heart (the right ventricle).
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