BayCare Implants Smallest Minimally Invasive Pacemaker

July 07, 2016

Doctors at Morton Plant and St. Joseph’s Hospitals First in Florida to Implant Micra TPS Outside of Clinical Trial

CLEARWATER, Fla., (July 7, 2016)-- BayCare Health System continues to offer advancements in cardiac care with Morton Plant and St. Joseph’s hospitals recently becoming the first hospitals in Florida not a part of the clinical trial study to implant the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS). 

Known as the world’s smallest pacemaker, the one-inch Micra TPS, which is 93 percent smaller than conventional pacemakers and smaller than a AAA battery, is implanted directly into the patient’s right ventricle through a vein in the leg. It is a single-chamber pacing system that paces only the right ventricle of the heart.

In the past, single chamber pacemakers were implanted under the skin near the collarbone and had wired leads that ran through a vein directly to the heart’s right ventricle, creating a “pocket” under the skin. Unlike these conventional pacemakers, the Micra TPS is self-contained and does not have wired leads. It latches directly onto the heart using small hooks and can be repositioned if needed.

“We believe this is the start of a new era in pacemakers,” said electrophysiologist Jose Gallastegui, MD, at Morton Plant Hospital. “The absence of leads is one of the main advantages of the pacemaker. The elimination of the wires connecting the device to the heart makes for a less invasive procedure reducing the risk of complications for the patient,” he said.

Although every patient needing a pacemaker is not a candidate for the Micra TPS, it can be of great benefit to those who are. Patients will not have a chest scar or a bump, meaning they will not have the discomfort or visible, physical reminder of a pacemaker under the skin.

The FDA approved the Micra TPS in April and doctors at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa have been trained to implant the device. At Morton Plant, the device was first implanted by Dr. Gallastegui on June 7 and electrophysiologist H. Andrew Hazlitt, MD implanted the tiny device at Morton Plant on June 14. At St. Joseph’s Hospital Electrophysiologist Kevin Makati, MD, performed the procedure on June 21.

“Research and technology continue to expand the tools we as physicians are able to offer our patients,” said Dr. Makati. “Today, this miniaturized pacemaker can be used for a specific group of patients. Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that we hope that we’ll be able to offer this same type of treatment for more patients in the future.”

The tiny pacemaker is used to treat bradycardia, a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute (normal heart rate is 60 – 100 bpm). At this rate, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing patients to experience dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells.

Pacemakers, the most common way to treat bradycardia, help restore the heart's normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate. The pacemaker is implanted into one chamber of the heart, the right ventricle.

In addition to Dr. Gallastegui, Dr. Hazlitt and Dr. Makati, the following electrophysiologists will be performing the procedure at Morton Plant Hospital— Jonathan Hobson, MD and Vaibhav Moondra, MD.  At St. Joseph’s Hospital, James Irwin, MD, is the other electrophysiologist who will be implanting the Micra TPS.

About BayCare’s Heart Services
From the youngest patients to adults, our commitment to exceptional patient care can be seen in the quality of our heart services. For decades, our heart experts have brought some of the most advanced and innovative procedures and treatments to the communities we serve. With programs and services nationally recognized, our doctors participate in clinical trials to help find new solutions for patients; teach new techniques to doctors from all over the country and have developed teams of doctors and clinical staff from different specialties to bring collaborative models of care to our patients. Areas of expertise include cardiothoracic surgery, cardiovascular procedures, electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, medical cardiology, diagnostics, imaging and cardiac rehabilitation, as well as screenings, education and support. 

About BayCare
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 13 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.  For more information, visit