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Tiny, leadless cardiac pacemaker sets hearts pacing

Cardiologist Dr Bradley Wilsmore and the team at Lingard Private Hospital are delivering a breakthrough pacemaker treatment to the local Hunter community.

Comparable in size to a large vitamin, Dr Wilsmore has elected to use the Medtronic Micra TPS because unlike traditional pacemakers, the device does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical ‘pocket’ under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy.

Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads – all while being cosmetically invisible.

Pacemaker therapy is the most common way to treat bradycardia (a slow or irregular heart rhythm). When the heart beats too slowly, the heart is not able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body and can lead to dizziness, fainting and even cardiac arrest. A pacemaker sends tiny electrical impulses to pace the heart when the rhythm is too slow and restores it to a normal level (around 60 - 100 beats per minute).

Mrs Shirley Considine from Lake Macquarie received the Medtronic Micra TPS pacemaker on March 19 at Lingard Private due to an irregular heartbeat.

“I was experiencing an irregular and increasing heartbeat and was very breathless. Daily tasks were difficult and my legs felt heavy like lead. When Dr Wilsmore suggested a pacemaker I was worried because it’s implanted in the heart and it just didn’t appeal to me at all, however it’s been nearly a week since the procedure, and I’m relieved that I can’t feel the pacemaker. After a follow-up procedure in April I will be able to stop taking my heart medication altogether," said Shirley.

Dr Bradley Wilsmore who implanted the pacemaker believes the Micra is the greatest advance in pacemaker technology since the introduction of MRI compatible devices in 2010. “Even though Micra is one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker, it delivers all the benefits. It continuously monitors and delivers electrical pulses to the heart, in line with the needs of the individual patient. Patients generally experience results instantly with their heart pacing at a normal rate, and return home the same or the following day.”

Lingard Private Hospital has positioned itself as a centre of excellence for Cardiac Care in the Hunter region, providing two Cardiac Catheterisation laboratories, featuring leading-edge facilities and equipped with the latest technology, diagnostic and interventional cardiology, electrophysiological procedures and implants, specialist consulting suites and 12 private coronary care beds to enable appropriate rest – vital for recovery after an acute cardiac procedure or episode.

Read the Newcastle Herald article