Heart surgeons at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids are beginning to use a revolutionary device in one of the most common heart procedures. The new technology is known as the “world’s smallest pacemaker.” Previously, pacemakers were inserted in the shoulder and required a long incision and wires leading to the heart. This device is put into the leg and carried to the heart by a vein. The director of the Arrhythmic Center at St. Luke’s, Dr. Mohit Chawla, says it makes a huge difference in how fast patients recover.
“The difference is the patients can basically walk home within 24 hours of the implant, there’s no visible scarring or signs they even has a cardiac procedure done.”
Dr. Chawla describes the size of the pacemaker.
“So it’s about the size of an eraser on a pencil, maybe two or three of those.”
The tiny device has been successfully implanted in two patients in Cedar Rapids. One came during open heart surgery, making the surgical team at St. Luke’s the first in the nation to insert the device during such a procedure.