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Phoenix hospital treating heart issues with world’s smallest pacemaker

(KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — It’s about the size and weight of a penny — yet it can help regulate an adult’s heartbeat.

The Micra TPS pacemaker is the world’s smallest to date. Abrazo Heart Hospital in Phoenix started putting them into patients this summer.

The device was approved for use in April 2016.

Dr. Akil Loli, an Abrazo interventional cardiologist, said patients love it — not only because there are no unsightly boxes or wires, but because it’s less traumatic to install.

For example, the design eliminates the risk of air getting outside the lungs.

“That possibility is no longer there as we are not going through the lung tissue,” he said.

“(A micro pacemaker) will allow for the patient to go home in an hour or two.”

The artificial intelligence of the device, Loli said, is even more remarkable.

“Within that little capsule, it does have a big brain that senses that electrical impulses of the heart,” he said. “When you need (an impulse), it will provide one.”

Pacemakers are the most common way to treat slow heartbeats known as bradycardia. They relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the rate.

When the rate gets too slow, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise. That can lead to dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting.

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