'Leadless' pacemakers, small size minimizes potential problems

'Leadless' pacemakers, small size minimizes potential problems

Pacemakers have shrunk over the years.

But their role in treating an irregular heart beat is still huge.

This one is the size of a large vitamin, about one-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker.

Pacemakers are needed to remind the heart to beat at a normal rate.

"Historically, pacemakers have always consisted of a computer and a battery that sits within the chest with a wire that goes through yours veins to the heart," said Dr. Matthew Stopper, a cardiac electrophysiologist.

Dr. Matthew Stopper is a cardiac specialist at Commonwealth Health Regional Hospital of Scranton.

He says this tiny pacemaker doesn't have any wires and is inserted directly into the heart itself through a minimally invasive procedure.

The miniature size also minimizes the number of potential problems.

"The main benefit is it doesn't not have any wires so typically if something is going to go wrong with the pacemaker, the thing that would fail would be the wire that connects to the heart," Dr. Stopper said.

Most pacemakers can be monitored by doctors remotely, which means the computer in the pacemaker connects to a wireless network from the patient's home.

To avoid ever needing a device like a pacemaker, doctors say the best thing you can do is exercise and don't smoke.

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