UK first – Glenfield Hospital implants the world’s smallest leadless pacemaker into a patient’s heart

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Glenfield Hospital has become the first hospital in the UK and Ireland to implant the world’s smallest, wireless pacemaker – the size of a large vitamin – into a patient’s heart.

Managed service and maintenance provider Althea provided the device for the ground-breaking procedure, which took place at Glenfield Hospital, part of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Manufactured by Medtronic, the Micra™ AV Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is only an inch long and treats AV block, a condition in which the electrical signals between the chambers of the heart (the atria and the ventricle) are impaired.

AV Block can cause light-headedness, fainting, and palpitations with severe cases leading to loss of consciousness, sudden cardiac arrest and can even worsen pre-existing conditions, such as heart failure. AV synchrony means the electrical activity of the atrium and ventricle are coordinated. When the atrium and ventricles are synchronized, patients are healthier and have decreased likelihood of pacemaker syndrome, improved quality of life, and increased blood flow from the left ventricle.

Micra AV, an innovative device that can detect the mechanical movement of a beat in one chamber of the heart – the atrium – and then pace another chamber where Micra AV is implanted – the ventricle – so the atrium and ventricle beat in synchrony, was purchased and managed by Althea through their Consumable Management Service (CMS).

One-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker, the Micra™ AV is delivered directly into the heart through a catheter inserted in the femoral vein (in the leg). Once positioned, the pacemaker is securely attached to the inside of the heart wall and can be repositioned if needed.

The miniature device does not require the use of wires, known as “leads,” to connect to the heart. Instead it is attached to the heart via small tines and delivers electrical impulses that pace the heart through an electrode at the end of the device.

It is the first time this procedure using the Mirca AV has been carried out in a UK hospital and Consultant Cardiologists involved Dr Somani, Dr Pathmanathan and Dr Chelliah have revealed the procedure was a huge success. Further procedures using the innovative device are planned to take place in the coming weeks.

Dr Riyaz Somani, Consultant Cardiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “It’s not just the size of the device that’s impressive but the technology inside is far more sophisticated than previous versions and will undoubtedly improve the lives of many local people with heart rhythm problems”.

“I’m proud to have implanted the first one in the UK and Ireland at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.”

A person’s heartbeat is controlled by electrical signals that travel from the upper chambers in your heart (the atria) to the lower chambers (the ventricles), making them contract and pump blood around your body. With AV block these electrical signals are slowed down or blocked as they travel through the heart. There are no medications available to treat AV block so until now, patients have been treated with traditional dual-chamber pacemakers which are implanted in the upper chest, under the skin below the collar bone, and connected to the heart using two thin wires called “leads.”

Justine McDonagh, CMS Business Manager at Althea said: “It is a real achievement for Glenfield Hospital to be the first in the UK and we are delighted to work with the hospital and clinicians to make this a reality for patients.”

Althea’s Consumable Management Service (CMS) offers clinicians in Cardiology, Radiology, Endoscopy and Electrophysiology suites access to the highest quality clinical consumables and devices in the right quantities at the right time. This enables Leicester’s Hospitals clinical teams to deliver compliant, sustainable and patient centric services.

Being entirely vendor-independent ensures Althea is not tied to any one manufacturer and can offer hospitals the most clinically effective and cost efficient service for their clinical needs.

About Althea – Althea delivers managed services and multi-vendor maintenance services to public and private hospitals in the UK and Ireland, designed to improve Radiology, Cardiology, Endoscopy and Biomed equipment availability whilst minimising costs under one service contract. Being vendor-independent means Althea’s customers can choose equipment and clinical consumables from any manufacturer as well as select the most-appropriate blend of maintenance providers including our ISO13485-certificated, in-house engineering workforce.

About Medtronic – headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is among the world’s largest medical technology, services and solutions companies – alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world. Medtronic employs more than 90,000 people worldwide, serving physicians, hospitals and patients in more than 150 countries. The company is focused on collaborating with stakeholders around the world to take healthcare Further, Together.