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Arrhythmia: do you know how the smallest pacemaker in the world works?

“The pacemaker is a device that compensates the disease of the heart’s electric tissue. Every time the heart ‘skips’ a beat, the pacemaker releases a small electrical stimulus, that the patient does not perceive, but which reminds the heart it is time to contract again”, explains Diogo Cavaco during the reportage ‘Futuro Hoje’, on SIC. The Hospital da Luz Lisboa cardiologist, particularly devoted to the area of cardiac rhythm alterations, was invited by the TV show, broadcasted on July 27, to describe how it is implanted and how the smallest pacemaker in the world works, having already inserted them in over a hundred patients.

Hospital da Luz network is a reference in the area of cardiac arrhythmology, with medical teams recognized by their vast experience and technological means that are the most advanced in the country. In 2015, the Cardiac Rhythm Centre of Hospital da Luz, coordinated by Pedro Adragão, was the first private hospital unit in Portugal to implant this pacemaker – the Micra cardiac pacing capsule –, to treat a patient with bradycardia, an alteration of the cardiac rhythm consisting in a slow beating.

Unlike the conventional pacemaker (bigger and implanted close to the heart, with a wire transporting the necessary electric energy), this device measures merely 2.5 cm and is implanted directly on the heart (where it is secured by clamps), through a minimally invasive procedure: a catheter inserted in the femoral vein, close to the leg. “It is less invasive, for it does not require surgical incision, and it represents a huge technological advancement”, adds Diogo Cavaco.

The Micra cardiac pacing capsule has a 10-year duration battery, on average, with the possibility of replacement afterwards, and patients can proceed with their daily activity and have a normal life.

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