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UK first: Next generation of world’s smallest pacemaker fitted into heart of Leicestershire man

Press release date 14/07/2020

Doctors at Glenfield Hospital have become the first in the UK to implant the latest generation Micra AV leadless pacemaker.

Within two weeks of a having heart rhythm disturbance identified, Leicestershire teacher Mr Short, who is otherwise fit and healthy, was back at home following a day procedure that saw him fitted with the innovative pacemaker.

Having experienced dizzy spells a couple years ago, Mr Short had been fitted with an implantable loop recorder in 2018 that enabled doctors to remotely assess information and data about his heart and alert him to any anomalies in the rhythm.

Whilst otherwise healthy, the data showed his heartbeats had unknowingly become more irregular, and picked up a long pause between beats.

The cardiology team at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, who had been monitoring Mr Short’s data called him for an assessment and within two weeks had fitted the inch-long pacemaker as a day-case surgical intervention.

Micra pacemakers are small enough that they can be implanted through a leg vein directly to the heart and they do not require pacing leads to connect the device to the heart. This ensures a low risk of infection associated with surgery and potentially allows for a shorter recovery time.

The latest generation Micra AV has the ability to recognise the beat in one part of the heart and pace another chamber meaning the heart beats in rhythm. This is a significant advance in technology from the previous Micra pacing system, the original type having been first implanted in England in 2014. This new technology means more patients may be suitable to benefit from wireless pacemakers.

Dr Riyaz Somani, consultant cardiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, who analysed the data said: “Despite his very good health, without a pacemaker Mr Short’s health could have very quickly deteriorated. 

“A person’s heartbeat is controlled by electrical signals and those signals contract your heart and pump blood around your body.  With a condition like Mr Short’s which we call AV Block, these electrical signals are either slow, or blocked entirely meaning that the heart does not contract as it needs to”

“There are no medications available to treat AV Block, so until now patients have been treated with traditional pacemakers connected to the heart via wires.

“The new miniature pacemaker is impressive not just because of its size and the fact it is wireless, but also because the technology is far more sophisticated than the previous generation, opening up leadless pacemakers to a greater number of suitable patients."

Mr Short, of Leicestershire said: “I was amazed how quick and relatively painless it all was, and because I only had a local anaesthetic, I was home not long after 5pm the same day.

“Everything at the hospital was so well organised and under control – it was really reassuring and comforting, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. The staff couldn’t have been better. Everybody I saw was so committed and caring.

“It’s an amazing piece of technology. Far beyond my expectations and it’s incredible to think it’s sitting inside my heart right now.”

For more information on this press release, please contact Tom Phelan, Communications Manager on 07866 185978