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St. Joseph’s Offers The World’s Smallest Pacemaker Which Can Now Treat Av Block

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New Device Means More Patients Are Now Candidates for a Leadless Pacing Option

STOCKTON, February 26, 2020 - Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center today announced that it is one of the first hospitals in San Joaquin County to offer Micra™ AV, the world’s smallest pacemaker with atrioventricular (AV) synchrony. This new device, indicated for the treatment of patients with AV block, extends the most advanced pacing technology – at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker – to more patients than ever before. The first procedure was performed by James Morrissey, MD and Cyrus Buhari, MD on February 25.

AV block is a type of heart block in which the electrical signals between the chambers of the heart (the atria and the ventricles) are impaired. Pacemakers, the most common way to treat AV block, help restore the heart's normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by coordinating the electrical activity of the atria and the ventricles. When this process – known as AV synchrony – is achieved, patients are healthier and have decreased likelihood of pacemaker syndrome, improved quality of life, and increased blood flow from the left ventricle.  

Historically, patients with AV block 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 thin wires called “leads.” Identical in size and shape to the original Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) approved in 2016, Micra AV has several additional internal atrial sensing algorithms which detect cardiac movement, allowing the device to adjust pacing in the ventricle to coordinate with the atrium, providing “AV synchronous” pacing therapy to patients with AV block.

Comparable in size to a large vitamin, physicians at St. Joseph’s Medical Center have elected to use Medtronic’s Micra AV based on its ability to deliver therapy via a minimally invasive approach. During the implant procedure, the device is inserted through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines. Because Micra AV does not require leads or a surgical "pocket" under the skin, potential sources of complications related to leads and pockets are eliminated - as are any visible signs of the device. 

Micra AV was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2020.

physicians at St. Joseph's Medical Center

[Photo: Physicians at St. Josephs Medical Center]

About St. Joseph’s Medical Center
St. Joseph's Medical Center is a not-for-profit, fully accredited, regional hospital with 355 beds, a physician staff of over 700, and more than 2,700 employees. Specializing in cardiovascular care, comprehensive cancer services, and women and children's services, St. Joseph's is committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health care services with special attention to the poor and under-served. As a Sponsoring Institution for Graduate Medical Education, St. Joseph’s supports rapidly growing educational programs for both resident physicians and medical students. In addition to being nationally recognized as a quality leader, St. Joseph's is consistently chosen as the "most preferred hospital" by local consumers. St. Joseph's is the largest hospital, as well as one of the largest private employers in San Joaquin County. Founded in 1899 by Fr. William O'Connor and administered by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, St. Joseph's continues to lead the region in medical innovation. St. Joseph's Medical Center is a member of Dignity Health, a system of ancillary care sites, medical foundations, and acute care hospitals serving California, Arizona and Nevada.

[1] Toff W, et al. NEJM. 2005

[2] Menozzi C, et al. PACE. 1990; Ouali S, et al. PACE. 2010


Publish date: 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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Kellie Ryan, Manager of Communications

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