Baptist Health Paducah first in region to offer miniature pacemaker

March 29, 2021

Cardiologist J. Kenneth Ford, MD is the only physician in the region able to offer this miniature pacemaker.

Dr. Ford with Micra Pacemaker(Paducah, Ky.) March 29, 2021  Baptist Health Paducah recently became the first hospital in the region to offer a pacemaker that is about the size of a large multivitamin.

Cardiologist J. Kenneth Ford, MD, successfully implanted the first Medtronic Micra pacemaker in a patient in February. Dr. Ford is the only physician in the region able to offer this miniature pacemaker.

The second-generation wireless pacemaker, approved in January 2020 by the FDA, is for patients with chronic atrial fibrillation or in some patients with AV block, a heart condition in which electrical signals between the chambers – the atria and the ventricle – are impaired. At one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker, the Micra AV looks identical, but extends advanced pacing technology to more patients than ever.

The new pacemaker and its predecessor eliminated the need for leads or wires, which can break or malfunction from mechanical stress, and avoids additional sources of potential infection.

“This new device is a miniaturized pacemaker that is placed through the groin and placed directly in the right ventricle,” Dr. Ford said. “The new pacemaker is not for everyone. It will be used most commonly when atrial pacing is not required, such as in chronic atrial fibrillation or some cases of complete heart block, and when vascular access is an issue. The trials have shown a lower complication rate with this device compared to the standard pacemaker procedure. Since there are no leads, there are no problems with the leads having to be replaced and no pacemaker pocket to get infected.”

In addition, traditional pacemaker batteries typically last less than a decade and must be exchanged with another procedure. The Micra pacemaker’s battery life is 10 to 12 years, Dr. Ford said.

“When the battery gets low, you just put in a new one and leave the old one behind, unlike the standard procedure where the pacemaker has to be replaced which results in an increased risk of infection,” he said.