MINNEAPOLIS - The world's smallest pacemaker is now being tested in humans and it was created by Minnesota based Medtronic.
Because it is so small, implanting the device is minimally invasive as well.
Medtronic's newest pacemaker is called the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS.) It's a small capsule, about the size of a large vitamin pill. At one tenth the traditional size, it's the World's smallest pacemaker.
Pat Mackin, Senior Vice President for Medtronic and President of the company's cardiac rhythm disease management business compared it to a traditional pacemaker. "There's no more generator. There's no more lead. It's all contained in this pellet here," he said.
According to Mackin, the Micra TPS also has the same ten-year battery life as a traditional pacemaker.
Here's how it's implanted: Its sent up through the femoral vein with a catheter and placed inside the right ventricle of the heart.
"So what you're going to be left with is this little pellet deep inside the heart that will do the same function as the traditional system," Mackin said.
Dr. Bill Katsiyiannis, with the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, described it as, "Just a phenomenal development."
He said about twelve-hundred devices, pacemakers and defibrillators, are implanted at the Institute each year.
He's impressed with the Micra TPS because it eliminates the lead on a traditional pacemaker and the need to make a pocket for the device.
"This new device has potential for helping out with the limitations of the current pacemaker systems we have, mainly the risk of infection and the risk of having a lead or a wire in your body for many years," he said,
The global clinical trial of the Micra TPS began in Europe last week. As of Tuesday, four patients had the device implanted.
It won't be long before Dr. Katsiyiannis and his colleagues are looking for trial candidates here at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.
"We're excited to be one of the early testing centers for this new technology," he said.
He anticipates using the device in trials starting early next year.
If the device works well in trials, Mackin said it could be available in Europe in as soon as one year, and in the United States in about three years.