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Allina Health cardiologist is first in the Midwest to implant the world’s tiniest pacemaker

MINNEAPOLIS 05/02/2014

Cardiologist Charles Gornick, MD, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute® implanted a Medtronic Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) on May 1 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Kathleen Buckholtz smiles before leaving the hospitalThe patient, Kathleen Buckholtz, 66, of Aitkin, Minn., became the first patient in the Midwest and one of the first in the United States to receive the device. Buckholtz went home from Abbott Northwestern today.

"She is also the first person in the world with artificial heart valves to have the device implanted," said Dr. Gornick. "The Micra TPS is the best option for her, because it doesn't require leads or wires which cause artificial heart valves to leak, which is exactly why people need artificial valves in the first place."

At one-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker, and comparable in size to a large vitamin, the Micra TPS is delivered directly into the heart through a catheter inserted in the femoral vein.

Once positioned, the pacemaker is securely attached to the heart wall and can be repositioned if needed. Instead of connecting to the heart with wires, known as leads, the miniature device attaches to the heart via small tines. The pacemaker delivers electrical impulses that pace the heart through an electrode at the end of the device.

Picture of device next to a U.S. nickelIn contrast to current pacemaker implant procedures, the Micra TPS implant does not require a surgical incision in the chest and the creation of a "pocket" under the skin. This eliminates a potential source of device-related complications including infection, and any visible sign of the device.

"Because this device is small enough to be implanted with a transcatheter procedure, patients can benefit by potentially reducing pocket or lead complications and recovery times of traditional surgical pacemaker implants," Dr. Gornick said.

The Micra TPS is an investigational device worldwide. The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is one of approximately 50 centers participating in a single-arm, multi-center global clinical trial that will enroll up to 780 patients. Initial results from the first 60 patients, followed up to three months, are expected in the second half of 2014.

About Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Abbott Northwestern Hospital is part of Allina Health. In addition to retaining its first place ranking for the best hospital in the Twin Cities and second in the State of Minnesota in the U.S. News & World Report's 2016-17 best hospital rankings, Abbott Northwestern has received nursing magnet certification, a recognition earned by only five percent of hospitals nationwide.

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, home oxygen and medical equipment and emergency medical transportation services

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