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BCH First in County to Implant World's Smallest Pacemaker

  • Category: General, Cardiology
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  • Written By: Boulder Community Health
BCH First in County to Implant World's Smallest Pacemaker

Today’s Daily Camera has a very positive page 1 article about Boulder Heart introducing an innovative technology to Boulder County – the world’s smallest pacemaker. The same article is in the business section of today’s Longmont Times-Call. A big thank you to Dr. Sameer Oza and the excellent cardiology team at Boulder Heart.

Read the article at the Daily Camera online, or read the full text of the article below.

Boulder Community Hospital first in county to implant world's smallest pacemaker
by Lucas High, Staff Reporter

Boulder Community Health's cardiology team recently became the first in Boulder County to implant patients with the world's smallest pacemaker.

The device, known as a Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, is about the size of a vitamin capsule and weighs about as much as a dime, according to BCH Boulder Heart's Dr. Sameer Oza.

This summer Oza and his team have implanted two patients with the tiny pacemaker system.

"I think part of our role as a community hospital is to bring in new technology," Oza said.

Pacemakers, regardless of size, use electrical impulses to restore natural rhythm to hearts that are beating slowly or irregularly.

Retired nurse Marilyn Russell, who was being treated for atrial fibrillation, was one of the first two local patients to receive a Micra device.

"I had researched it and I knew that they had put a few a few thousand (Micra devices) in patients around the country," Russell said. "I was excited when Dr. Oza told me I'd be the first person here to get it."

Oza said the Micra device has some distinct advantages over traditional pacemakers.

A traditional pacemaker is implanted through an incision near the collar bone, while the Micra device is introduced in a minimally invasive procedure through the femoral artery near the groin.

"Procedurally, there are some benefits," Oza said. "When you are going in through the collar bone area next to the lung, there are some potential complications that can happen with the lung."

Because the Micra device is more compact and involves fewer parts, less hardware is implanted in the body. Less hardware means less risk of infection, Oza said.

Since the Micra device, which has a battery life of 13 to 15 years, is not introduced through the collar bone area, scarring is not nearly as visible, he said.

Oza also acknowledges there are some disadvantages to the smaller device, including the potential for the pacemaker to dislodge and move into the lungs.

"Thankfully, the rate of dislodgment of the Micra is about 1 in 400 to 1 in 500," he said. "That's much lower than the risk of dislodgment for a traditional pacemaker wire."

About two months after Russell's procedure, she said she's had no issues with the device.

"I feel wonderful," she said. "Much better than before."

To learn more about BCH's full-service cardiology program at its three Boulder Heart clinics, click here. To make an appointment, call: 303-442-2395.