London Health Sciences Centre 1st in Ontario to implement leadless pacemaker
London Health Sciences Centre’s Cardiac Care Program is the first in Ontario to implant a leadless pacemaker.
The pacemaker, approved by Health Canada last October, is the size of a vitamin capsule and is capable of delivering the same electrical impulses as a traditional pacemaker without the added generator or wires known as “leads.”
“[Traditional pacemakers] are fairly reliable devices but unfortunately [they] are very susceptible to infection with every time that we need to change the battery or if the wires fail,” Dr. Jaimie Manlucu, heart rhythm cardiologist for the LHSC, said.
According to Manlucu, a depleted battery in a leadless pacemaker can have the electrical currents disabled and it can be left in the heart with no risk to the patient.
She successfully implanted the Medtronic Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) using a minimally invasive technique through the groin on Feb. 1.
“[Using a vein in the groin] it is delivered through a large and deflectable sheet that can bend once it enters the heart,” Manlucu said. “It delivers the small capsule to the inner surface of the heart and it sticks there for sometime [as] it exits the capsule as it is released from the sheet.”
According to Manlucu, the heart rhythm program at the LHSC allows doctors to work closely with companies developing new technologies, which gives them opportunities to try them out first.
“The risk of infection, [the] long term risk of lead failure in patients and the risk of the procedure [for traditional pacemakers] to pull wires out if they are broken or get infected is too high since these patients are elderly and frail,” Manlucu said.
Seeing pacemaker scars from traditional devices can have a psychological impact on some patients, according to Manlucu.
The LHSC stated that the size of leadless pacemakers as well as the less invasive methods of implanting the devices has an aesthetic benefit for patients.
“This is probably the way this pacemaker technology will go uniformly,” Manlucu said.
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