CATAWBA COUNTY — Though nobody is a stranger into wireless technologies, the radio pacemaker is most likely unfamiliar to many.
The Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, the world’s smallest pacemaker, will be all about the size of a big vitamin pillthat weighs as much as a cent and has a battery life of 13 to 15 years.
On Thursday, 80-year-old Newton resident Mary Mitchell became the first individual in Catawba Valley Medical Center to be planted with this device.
The minimally invasive process takes about 20 minutes to complete and generally leads to patients going home the exact same day.
With a catheter, the Micra is put directly into the heart through the femoral vein found in the upper thigh and pelvic region.
Dr. Patrick Whalen, an electrophysiologist with Catawba Valley Cardiology, determined Mitchell was the ideal candidate to get the apparatus after learning of her medical history.
Mitchell was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, which had spread into her throat, lymph nodes and uterus, also during emergency operation to remove her gallbladder, she had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib).
AFib, or an irregular pulse, increases a individual’s risk of blood clots, stroke and other cardiovascular complications.
While AFib could be treated with drugs, the medication wasn’t helping Mitchell.
Due to needing radiation and chemotherapy to treat her cancer, a traditional pacemaker wouldn’t work because the cables interfere with radiation, so which makes Mitchell qualified for its Micra device.
There were approximately 13,000 Micra placements worldwide, and the apparatus became approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2016.
Whalen said he’s put over a dozen of those pacemakers, with his first one occurring at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
“With this pacemaker, there’s a lower risk of disease, bleeding and trauma,” he explained.
The battery-life is tracked wirelessly and can be checked by doctors even though Mitchell isn’t present; however, she’ll continue to see her physician for followup appointments.
“Apart from the usual blood thinner, Mary will not need to take any more medication for the AFib,” Whalen said.
The cancer remedies have ruined Mitchell’s vocal cords, however, the mum of nine has wonderful support from her loved ones.
Her daughters Becky Cazire along with Sherry Hill would be the main caregivers for their mom, and urge to make sure she’s well taken care of by her doctors.
“Our mom taught us some doctors appear to ‘write off’ individuals when they hit a specific age or have a complex illness,” Hill explained. “We’re so thankful for Dr. Whalen along with the answer he offered here in CVMC.”
Even though Mitchell was kept overnight for observation as a result of her medical history, the operation was a success along with her AFib diagnosis is currently only one less thing to worry about.