Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is the world’s smallest pacemaker

Newport News, Va. – Patients at Riverside Regional Medical Center suffering from a slow or irregular heartbeat and in need of a single chamber pacemaker now have a new, less-invasive option to consider – the Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System.

Micra TPS for short, the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is the world’s smallest pacemaker and works without the use of leads – the wires that typically connect a pacemaker device to the heart. Pacemakers work by mimicking the heart’s natural pacemaker, the sinus node. If it isn’t beating normally, it will send an electrical impulse to the heart.

“The Micra TPS is a relatively new technology, and it’s not for every patient, but it’s perfect for someone who only needs a single chamber pacemaker – someone who has a slow or irregular heart rate and is experiencing symptoms or needs pacing support,” said Riverside Cardiac Electrophysiologist Scott Kaufman, D.O.

Kaufman began implanting the device in patients earlier this year in the medical center’s new Cardiac and Vascular Hybrid Operating Room. The Hybrid OR, the first of its kind on the Virginia Peninsula, is a multi-purpose suite where patients can have diagnostic, interventional and surgical procedures all performed in one place.

Board-certified by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners in internal medicine, cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology, Kaufman has more than two decades of experience in cardiac electrophysiology, which assesses and treats problems with the heart’s electrical activity and rhythm. His expertise in this focused specialty includes ablation therapy, device implants and leadless pacemakers. He has conducted extensive clinical research in his field and practices with a philosophy to treat patients, not conditions, and do no harm in the process.

In addition to being leadless, the Micra TPS features other important benefits to the patient.

Unlike most pacemakers that are placed in the patient's chest through an incision beneath the collarbone, Micra TPS is implanted directly into the patient’s heart through a catheter inserted through the femoral vein. Because the procedure is less-invasive, there is a much smaller risk of infection and recovery time can be much shorter. The device is also Bluetooth-enabled, allowing it to communicate remotely to a monitor system that provides data to the patient’s doctor. The pacemaker’s battery also lasts between 10 to 12 years.

Domenico Tambone, 85, received a Micra TPS earlier this year after dealing with a chronic slow heart rate and fainting episodes. Tambone had also recently suffered from a blood infection and under normal circumstances would have had to wait six weeks before having a traditional pacemaker implanted.

“It’s a very marvelous thing,” said Tambone, following his procedure. “The instrument has gotten so small, and the ability to retain that in the body is rather miraculous.”

Kaufman said patients receiving Micra TPS typically go home the same day and, other than allowing six hours for the vein to heal, have no restrictions. By comparison, a patient receiving a traditional pacemaker through an incision in the chest would not be able to lift or reach with their arm for up to six weeks.

“Riverside instilled a lot of confidence in me throughout this entire procedure,” said Tambone. “It’s wonderful to live in an area like this, so if something does happen I have a wonderful hospital to go to. I’m a lucky guy.”

Published: November 12, 2019