World’s smallest pacemaker giving woman second chance at life

Posted at 12:31 PM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 12:31:35-04

It’s hard to imagine this little device alone can power your heart.

Described as the world’s smallest pacemaker, this is now changing lives for patients at one local hospital.

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is made by Medtronic.

It’s about the size of a large vitamin and is about 1/10th of the size of this traditional pacemaker!

“There’s nothing to see, there’s nothing to feel, no constant reminder that I’ve got a pacemaker,” said Dr. Gopi Cherukuri, interventional cardiologist with Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital.

This tiny technology is delivered directly into the heart through a catheter that’s placed in the femoral vein.

Little prongs help attach and secure the device inside the heart , then little electrical pulses, which can be dialed in, are given.

For Tempe resident Ruth Ann Elms, this is the world’s smallest lifesaver.

“How cool is that,” said Elms.

“Wow, what do you think? How is it?” asked CBS 5 anchor Preston Phillips.

“I don’t know, it’s there, I don’t know, it’s like part of me, I guess,” Elms responded.

At 80, Elms has had four kidney transplants and a liver transplant.

Only recently, did she start having heart problems.

When her heart started failing, this was her only option.

“Because I’ve been on dialysis two or three times between kidney transplants, I have a lot of stents up here, so that wouldn’t have worked. So how lucky it was they have that now,” said Elms.

What’s also great about this tiny technological is there’s no surgical incision required and its battery operated and self-contained, which means no leads or wires needed to pace the heart.

“If you have a patient who is a candidate for this and who is also a candidate for single chamber pacing, then this is clearly advantageous, this is clearly the better device to have,” said Dr. Cherukuri.

Elms is the first patient to receive the world’s smallest pacemaker at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital.

If you think you might be a candidate, Dr. Cherikuri says, talk to your cardiologist and go from there.