Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) researchers have designed and implanted a minimally-invasive device in the area around the heart.
The study has found the feasibility of implanting a micropacemaker system in the pericardial sac surrounding the heart.
This breakthrough may open up new cardiac pacing options for children and adults.
The micropacemaker can be inserted through a single, tiny incision and it avoids an invasive surgical procedure and the complications related to long pacemaker leads.
The micropacemaker has the potential to benefit a much larger population, including children, people born with congenital heart disease and adults for whom traditional pacemakers are less than ideal.
For permanent pacing, traditional systems, also called as transvenous, have been a primary solution. The electrode wires are passed through veins into the right ventricle or atrium, often traveling long distances, making lead failure a challenge.
Leadless systems are located inside blood vessels, which increases the risk of dislodgement and infection.
Percutaneous implantations are performed in a model system, with a focus on improving the implantation tools and techniques from one experiment to the next.
In the final procedure, implantation of a functional pacing system is achieved up to five days of pacing.
The new micropacemaker enables pacing of the left ventricle (LV); most systems only pace the right ventricle.
A growing body of research supports the benefits of LV pacing for better cardiac synchrony.
In addition, the design allows the formation of a biological support matrix that result from natural fibrosis.
This living connective tissue has benefits over the use of synthetic polymer, which can degrade over time.