UPMC Physicians Implant Pennsylvania’s First Wireless Pacemaker

PITTSBURGH – UPMC electrophysiologists are the first in the state to implant a catheter-delivered, leadless pacemaker to treat life-threatening bradycardia, a slow heartbeat that reduces blood flow to the brain and body.

The Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is a wireless device that detects a slow heartbeat and sends impulses to the heart to maintain a normal rhythm. The procedure was performed at UPMC Shadyside in mid-April on an 86-year-old man as part of the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing trial.

UPMC is one of only six U.S. centers selected for participation in the international trial for patients who need a pacemaker. The device was the ninth implantation of the novel leadless pacemaker in the U.S.

Traditional pacemakers use a pulse generator unit that is implanted under the skin, usually in the upper chest, with one or more wires, known as leads, which are threaded through the veins to the right-side heart chambers. The miniaturized, leadless pacemaker is implanted directly into the right ventricle of the heart, gaining access via the femoral vein in the groin.

“One advantage compared to traditional pacemakers is that no incision is required. That can help reduce infection complications. This pacemaker eliminates the need for a lead, which is more prone to failure over time than any other part of the pacemaker system,” said Andrew Voigt,

M.D., assistant professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, lead surgeon for the procedure and electrophysiologist at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

“This minimally invasive approach simplifies the implantation procedure, does not require sutures or cause the appearance of a scar, and may improve patient satisfaction.”

In the United States, the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System will not be commercially available until the successful completion of this clinical trial and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The trial is seeking to establish the safety and efficacy of this novel, miniaturized pacemaker system.

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