April 6, 2017
London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) legacy of advanced research and medical innovation means that patients here in London and the region often benefit from the most advanced technologies and procedures available. Building on that legacy, LHSC’s Cardiac Care Program recently became the first in Ontario to implant a leadless pacemaker, a tiny pacemaker without cardiac wires known as leads.
Dr. Jaimie Manlucu, heart rhythm cardiologist, LHSC, successfully implanted the Medtronic Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) on February 1 using a minimally invasive technique through the groin.
“Leadless pacemakers are an alternative to traditional pacemakers for patients who are at high risk of infection due to other medical conditions, or do not have the veins needed for a conventional pacemaker,” she explains. “The first patient to receive a leadless pacemaker at LHSC was not a candidate for a conventional or surgical pacemaker, and has done very well with this alternative device.”
A leadless pacemaker is the size of a vitamin capsule and is able to deliver the same electrical impulses to keep the heart beating regularly as a traditional pacemaker, without the added generator or wires.
“A patient who is 60 may require multiple pacemaker replacements over their lifetime, and the risk of infection increases each time a pacemaker is replaced,” elaborates Dr. Manlucu. Should a pacemaker become infected after replacing its battery, open heart surgery may be required to remove the leads.
“When the battery is depleted on a leadless pacemaker, its electrical currents can be disabled and it can be left in the heart with no risk to the patient,” she adds.
Due to their small size, leadless pacemakers also offer an aesthetic benefit as patients will no longer experience scarring on their chest from the surgery or see the generator bulging under the skin.
“Currently, leadless pacemakers provide us with an alternative treatment option for selected patients. As this exciting technology continues to develop, we can expect a broader application of the technology,” says Dr. Manlucu.