A patient in the U.K. recently got a brand new pacemaker the size of a pill you can find in your medicine cabinet. Called the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, the pacemaker uses wireless technology and is small enough to fit directly in the wall of the heart.
The new device boasts reduced infection risk and recovery time, thanks to being a tenth of the size of a traditional pacemaker. Other pacemakers are inserted just under the skin and connect to the heart through transmitted signals. The Micra Transcatheter sends electrical signals through an electrode so transmitters aren't needed.
"While pacemakers have saved thousands of lives over the past seven decades since the first devices were implanted, one of the major drawbacks has been complications related to the pacing lead that is put in to deliver electrical impulses to the heart," said professor John Morgan, a consultant cardiologist. "Now that we have pacemakers that are so small – not much larger than an antibiotic pill – they can be attached directly to the inside of the heart, all the problems related to the old fashioned pacemaker lead are abolished."
Morgan adds that this procedure has been a major milestone for the UK's medical industry.