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Pill-size pacemaker now offered at Carondelet St. Joseph's Hospital

Dec 18, 2018

Leadless device operates without wire leads for patients with irregular heartbeat

Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital is now offering a leadless pacemaker as a minimally-invasive option for treating patients with an irregular or slower-than-normal heart rate.

pill-pacemaker-compressorThe new device only one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. About the size of a vitamin pill, it doesn’t require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical implant under the skin like traditional pacemakers.

“Comparable in size to a large vitamin pill, the pacemaker is a miniaturized heart device designed to provide pacing technology while being cosmetically invisible,” said Cardiac Electrophysiologist Jitender Munjal, MD. “It is designed to provide a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers, without the complications associated with leads, for appropriate patients.”

Dr. Munjal recently began implanting the leadless pacemaker in patients at Tucson’s Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“The device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines and delivers electrical impulses that pace the heart through an electrode at the end of the device,” said Dr. Munjal.

Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells.

Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help restore the heart's normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.

According to Dr. Munjal, the leadless pacemaker automatically adjusts pacing therapy based on a person’s activity levels. It is also FDA-approved for both 1.5 and 3 Tesla full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and is designed to allow patients to be followed by their physicians and send data remotely.

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