World's smallest pacemaker in mid-Michigan


It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks since Michael Johnson and his wife first visited his doctor.

"He showed me on the computer, where my heart just flatlined, and then it picked back up, and then it flatlined again."

Michael has Bradycardia, a very common condition, that leads to a slow, irregular heart rhythm. He needed a pacemaker, but there was a problem: there was nowhere to put one, without interfereing with his dialysis access.

Dr. Mustafa Hassan explains says that if, "We put the leads through the veins in the heart through this- on the left side here, he has a fishtail on that side- an access for dyalisis. If we put a lead there, we are going to occulude the fishtail and it's not going to work very well."

Michael says, puttin git on the right side was no tan option either, "He couldn't put it over here because I needed this access, if this access broke down from dialysis."

Fortunately, Dr. Hassan, a McLaren electrophysiologist, had another option. The Micra is a brand new pacemaker. It is one-tenth of the size of a typical pacemaker, but doesn't use leads. It's implanted directly into the heart, via the groin.

"We get it in and anchor it to the heart muscle and just leave it in there," Hassan explains.

The Micra collects, stores and sends data just like other remote pacemakers, and the battery lasts nearly 14 years.

"We're able to get not just the same technology, but even better than a smaller device," Hassan says.

But Michael had to decide whether he wanted to be the first in the area to try Micra. And he had to decide quickly.

"They was trying to get it in becasue they didn't want my heart stopping again," so, Michael says he and his wife decided to go for it.

That was a huge relief to Dr. Hassan, "The timing was right becasue I don't know what else I would have done."

Ultimately, it worked. Michael says he is feeling great.

Patients with bradycardia and atrial fibrillation are typically ideal candidates for Micra.

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