AUSTIN, Texas—The Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) at St. David’s Medical Center recently became the first facility in Texas to use the Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) after receiving FDA approval. The Micra TPS is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. Micra is the only leadless pacemaker approved for use in the United States.

The procedure was performed by Robert Canby, M.D. and Amin Al-Ahmad, M.D., electrophysiologists at TCAI, to treat bradycardia—a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath and/or fainting spells.

“We are pleased to be among the first in Texas to use this new miniaturized pacing system, advancing the level of care we provide for our patients,” Dr. Canby said. “Due to the unique design of the Micra TPS, most patients experience fewer medical complications and fewer post-implant activity restrictions, allowing them to return to their normal lives sooner.”

Unlike traditional pacemakers, the Micra TPS—which is about the size of a large vitamin or capsule—does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket” under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy, making it virtually invisible. Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small prongs, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads. The Micra TPS is also designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels.

The Micra TPS is the first and only transcatheter pacing system to be approved for both 1.5 and 3 Tesla (T) full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, providing patients with access to the most advanced imaging diagnostic procedures available, if needed. Additionally, it incorporates a feature to enable retrieval of the device if needed (although the device is designed to be left in the body). For patients who need more than one heart device, the miniaturized Micra TPS can be permanently turned off so it can remain in the body when a new device is implanted without risk of an electrical interaction.

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System was approved by the FDA for use in the United States in April 2016.

St. David’s HealthCare, including the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center, continues to add innovative therapeutic procedures to the Austin region, including the implantation of the first MRI-capable defibrillator MultiPoint Pacing technology to treat congestive heart failure.

Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute

Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) at St. David’s Medical Center is one of the world’s preeminent centers dedicated to the latest treatment advances for correcting abnormal heart rhythms such as Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib). The center is led by Executive Medical Director Andrea Natale, M.D., a world-renowned expert in the field. Natale is at the forefront of advancing treatment for A Fib, leading numerous clinical trials and participating in the development of new technologies and procedures. TCAI is part of St. David’s HealthCare, one of the largest health systems in Texas, which was recognized with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2014.

St. David’s Medical Center

St. David’s Medical Center is part of St. David’s HealthCare, one of the largest health systems in Texas, which was recognized in 2014 with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Founded in 1924, St. David’s Medical Center is a full-service medical center offering comprehensive medical care at three locations—St. David’s Medical Center, Heart Hospital of Austin and St. David’s Georgetown Hospital.

Located in central Austin, St. David’s Medical Center includes a 350-bed acute care hospital and a 64-bed rehabilitation hospital providing comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care. It is home to the internationally renowned Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute and St. David’s Neuroscience & Spine Institute. The hospital provides a complete range of women’s services, including its acclaimed maternity unit, maternal-fetal medicine, a high-risk maternal and neonatal transport team, the region’s largest and most sophisticated Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and The Breast Center; a fertility center; complex surgical services; a comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Center; and a 24-hour emergency department.

St. David’s Medical Center was named among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics from 2010 to 2016. Truven also named St. David’s Medical Center to the list of 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The hospital earned a national distinction for patient safety from The Leapfrog Group from 2012 to 2016, and it received the 2016 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence from Healthgrades for the fifth consecutive year, as well as Healthgrades’ 2016 America’s 100 Best Hospitals Award for the second consecutive year.