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The world’s smallest pacemaker was implanted on Thursday by doctors from a Poznań hospital. The new technology was applied for the first time in Poland.

Implantation of a pacemaker

Hopefully the surgeons won’t lose such a tiny device

According to PhD MD Przemysław Mitkowski of the I Clinic of Cardiology at the Hospital of the Transfiguration of Jesus in Poznań, the implanted device is 24 mm long, about 6 mm in diameter, weighs 1 gram, and is about 90 percent smaller and lighter than commonly used pacemakers.

The most important difference, besides the size, is the absence of the usual electrode, which is always the weakest element of all electrotherapy systems. During the life of a patient it bends 100 thousand times each day. There is always a risk that it will break, that the insulation will get damaged, and it would lead to infection – says Dr Mitkowski.

He adds that a new type of device that is the size of a conventional pill, is introduced through a puncture in the femoral vein and not, as is usually done, through an incision of the skin around the subclavian area.

The device is introduced into the right ventricle of the heart, there it is implanted and there it stays. There is no part that goes outside of the heart – he explains.

The new technology, which replaces the classic single-chamber stimulator is much more expensive than those previously used. Mitkowski explains, however, that there are cases in which it may be indispensable.

The first procedures which we perform are on patients who theoretically could use the classic system, the idea is to gain the necessary experience. It will be mainly the pacemaker implanted in patients where there is no possibility of using the classic device. Those are people with venous obstructions, patients who had circulatory system infections in the past, and patients with a high risk of complications – Dr Mitkowski stressed.

The first device was used in in a man from Poznań aged over 70 years. The whole procedure was under local anaesthesia; the patient was conscious the whole time. Doctors scheduled next procedures for Thursday and Friday last week. A similar procedure was also lanned in Zabrze.

Together with our colleagues from Zabrze we have been preparing ourselves for several months for the application of this new technology. We agreed that the procedures would be carried out simultaneously in the Silesian Center for Heart Diseases and in our clinic on the same day – says Dr Przemysław Mitkowski.

He adds that the next procedure will be performed on an 80-year-old female patient, for whom the new type of pacemaker is actually the only treatment option.

 

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