In mid-January, Prof. Jesper Hastrup Svendsen, and Dr. Lars
Søndergaard, both Consultant Surgeons at the Department of Cardiology at
Rigshospitalet, were the first in Scandinavia to insert a new type of
wireless pacemaker in a 70-year-old man with irregular heartbeat. The
procedure was completed under local anaesthesia and took less than an
hour. The patient was discharged on the following day and is doing well.
Unique new concept
“Medtronic has developed an entirely new
and unique concept here. All the “gubbins” for the Micra Tps wireless
pacemaker are in the heart itself. This has many advantages. Now there
are no electrodes, which, in the past with traditional pacemakers, have
often led to various complications, like infections. There is also a
minimal surgical procedure compared with previously,” Said Prof. Jesper
Hastrup Svendsen, from the Department of Cardiology at Rigshospitalet
and Glostrup University Hospital.
Pacemaker treatment is used
for patients with slow heartbeats. The first pacemaker was implanted in
1958. All pacemakers have more or less looked the same since then.
The traditional pacemaker
traditional pacemaker is a cylindrical about 2cm in diameter and ½cm
high. The cylinder contains a computer component which registers when
the pacemaker needs to emit the small electrical pulses which make the
heart contract. The cylinder also contains a battery.
pacemaker is implanted under the skin in front of the ribcage. The
pacemaker is connected to 1-3 wires (electrodes) which, via a blood
vessel near the shoulder, are led down to the heart and brought into
contact with the inner heart wall.
Wireless and problem-free
of the problems and complications we see with current pacemakers are
due to the wire electrodes. The new pacemakers don’t have these. They
look like a rifle bullet and they have four hooks which grip onto the
inner side of the heart wall,” said Jesper Hastrup Svendsen, and he
“The pacemaker is implanted using a local anaesthetic. We insert the
device from a vein in the groin and with a special “tool” we push the
device out, once it has been placed in a good location in the inside of
the right ventricle. What’s more, the battery lasts for 7-10 years; very
impressive given its size. Finally, the new pacemaker is invisible and
that’s a great advantage for the patient.”
New concept and perspectives
new wireless pacemaker system is currently being implemented as part of
an international research project. The Heart Centre has set up a
collaboration with other hospitals in the Capital Region of Denmark
which carry out pacemaker operations, and these are referring suitable
patients. The first patient to receive a wireless pacemaker was referred
from Hillerød Hospital in northern Zealand.
“We expect to be
able to treat between 10 to 20 patients with the new system during 2015.
The ideal candidates for the new pacemaker are patients who only need a
pacemaker with electrodes in the ventricle, and this applies for around
30% of all patients with pacemakers.
As far as I know, the new
device has been implanted in around 300 patients world-wide. In the long
term, the pacemaker technology will be improved further, with several
of the same type of pacemaker in different places in the heart in the
same patient,” Jesper Hastrup Svendsen concluded
Jesper Hastrup Svendsen