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Small Pacemaker Could Carry Big Benefits

NEW YORK -- Doctors say a small device could have big benefits for some heart patients.
NEW YORK -- Doctors say a small device could have big benefits for some heart patients.

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital were the first in the U.S. to implant this new, experimental pacemaker, which is smaller than a triple a battery.

“This device doesn't require surgery so that means there is a low risk of infection,” says Dr. Vivek Reddy.

Surgeons use a catheter to guide the new device up through a vein in the leg and screw it directly into the heart muscle. Doctors say the new pacemaker doesn't have wires or leads, which may be another advantage.

“The problem is if ever that lead has to be removed then it's very difficult to remove that lead,” says Reddy. “It's also a problem because that lead, which is what communicates with the heart, that lead can fracture.”

Pacemakers are necessary when a patient's heart doesn't beat fast enough or work properly. Reddy says the procedure to takes five to 10 minutes and the recovery is also faster.

The device corrected Gregory Dobin's heartbeat, restoring his pulse to a healthy 60 beats per minute.

“I feel much better I’m telling you,” says Dobin.

More than 600 hundred patients are expected to take part in the nationwide study to make sure the new pacemaker is safe and effective.

If there's a problem, doctors can remove the pacemaker through a catheter.

The device is already approved for use in Europe and currently can only be used to regulate the lower chamber of the heart.

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