Photo: St. Anthony
Last week, cardiologist Lucas Boersma first implanted the newest and smallest wireless pacemaker in the world on a patient in St. Antonius. The intervention was successful. The patient was able to go home the next day. With this new pacemaker, an important treatment option is added for patients who are in frail health and for whom surgery is risky.
Where a classic pacemaker is implanted under the skin on the chest and is connected to the heart with two attached wires (leads), this mini pacemaker is implanted directly into the heart. It is 90% smaller than the classic pacemaker (comparable to a large vitamin pill), making the operation much less invasive. The small device is brought directly into the heart through a small incision in the groin and then through the bloodstream. With hooks, it is then attached to the heart and delivers electrical impulses that stimulate the heart through an electrode at the end of the device. Because there is no wire left in the heart or a battery under the skin, the risk of infection drops drastically. In addition, the mini pacemaker is invisible to the patient and his environment.
Until now, the minipacemaker was only suitable for sixteen percent of patients, because it was able to measure heart activity in one chamber of the heart. This new improved version can also treat patients who have a complete interruption of cardiac activity between anterior chamber and chamber. The latest mini pacemaker, the Micra AV, developed by Medtronic, can also help patients with cardiac arrhythmias in both ventricles. This means that up to 40% of cardiac patients requiring a pacemaker may be eligible for this treatment, more than double the number of patients compared to the first generation of this small pacemaker.
The new variant has already been installed abroad by various hospitals. The St. Antonius Hospital had its first in the Netherlands this week, together with the Amsterdam UMC and the LUMC in Leiden.
Cardiologist Lucas Boersma from St. Anthony wore smart glasses during the implantation of the small pacemaker. This brought him into contact with a Medtronic product expert. In this way, the expert could view the operation from outside the hospital and, if desired, be consulted for advice by Dr. Boersma. A result now because of Corona the number of people in the hospital and certainly in the OR is kept to a minimum.