Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center, is the first hospital on the Northshore to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker for patients with bradycardia. Dr. Frank Voelker, an interventional cardiologist at Lakeview Regional, performed the procedure.

Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells. Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help restore the heart’s normal rhythm and relieve symptoms, by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.

The Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System is a new type of heart device, approved for Medicare reimbursement, that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker.

Unlike traditional pacemakers, the device – comparable in size to a large vitamin – does not require cardiac wires 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 wires – all while being cosmetically invisible and designed to be left in the body.

“This micro-pacemaker is another Lakeview Regional first for our patients, who now have access to the next generation in pacemakers,” said Dr. Frank Voelker. “This technology demonstrates our commitment to offering the latest and most sophisticated spectrum of care for patients with rhythm disorders, which can ultimately improve their quality of life.”