Skip to main content

The world's tiniest pacemaker is no bigger than a vitamin, and it was just approved by the FDA

Micra TPS world's smallest pacemaker FDA approved
Medical technology has been trending towards smaller, more discreet devices, but not every innovation that benefits patients makes it to the market. So it’s big news that the FDA just approved the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (Micra TPS), the world’s smallest pacemaker, at about one-tenth the size of traditional devices. In addition to its record small size, the Micra TPS pacemaker is the first miniaturized device with pacing technology to be approved by the United States government.

Pacemakers are a crucial part of cardiovascular health for many individuals around the world, but they aren’t always the most convenient technology to use. The Micra TPS is about the size of a large multivitamin, and it connects to the heart with small tines that deliver electrical impulses through electrodes. While other pacemakers deliver the same kind of jolt to the heart no matter what the circumstances, the Micra TPS can adjust the intensity of the electrical impulse based on a patient’s activity and health levels, and the type of cardiac event it is responding to.

Because this tiny pacemaker doesn’t require a surgical pocket under the patient’s skin, as with traditional devices, the Micra TPS is much easier to implant and more difficult to detect. As part of an extensive clinical trial phase, Medtronic reported that 96 percent of patients implanted with the Micra TPS experienced no major complications, which is down 51 percent from patients with traditional pacemaker devices.

The device’s longevity is another benefit for cardiovascular patients, since the Micra TPS can last for more than 12 years. Due to its size, it requires a minimally invasive procedure to insert the pacemaker through a catheter. And because many cardiovascular issues require regular monitoring, it is crucial to note that the Micra TPS will allow patients to go through the most advanced forms of MRI scanning without danger.

Editors' Recommendations

Chloe Olewitz
Chloe is a writer from New York with a passion for technology, travel, and playing devil's advocate. You can find out more…
Why AI will never rule the world
image depicting AI, with neurons branching out from humanoid head

Call it the Skynet hypothesis, Artificial General Intelligence, or the advent of the Singularity -- for years, AI experts and non-experts alike have fretted (and, for a small group, celebrated) the idea that artificial intelligence may one day become smarter than humans.

According to the theory, advances in AI -- specifically of the machine learning type that's able to take on new information and rewrite its code accordingly -- will eventually catch up with the wetware of the biological brain. In this interpretation of events, every AI advance from Jeopardy-winning IBM machines to the massive AI language model GPT-3 is taking humanity one step closer to an existential threat. We're literally building our soon-to-be-sentient successors.

Read more
The best hurricane trackers for Android and iOS in 2022
Truck caught in gale force winds.

Hurricane season strikes fear into the hearts of those who live in its direct path, as well as distanced loved ones who worry for their safety. If you've ever sat up all night in a state of panic for a family member caught home alone in the middle of a destructive storm, dependent only on intermittent live TV reports for updates, a hurricane tracker app is a must-have tool. There are plenty of hurricane trackers that can help you prepare for these perilous events, monitor their progress while underway, and assist in recovery. We've gathered the best apps for following storms, predicting storm paths, and delivering on-the-ground advice for shelter and emergency services. Most are free to download and are ad-supported. Premium versions remove ads and add additional features.

You may lose power during a storm, so consider purchasing a portable power source,  just in case. We have a few handy suggestions for some of the best portable generators and power stations available. 

Read more
Don’t buy the Meta Quest Pro for gaming. It’s a metaverse headset first
Meta Quest Pro enables 3D modeling in mixed reality.

Last week’s Meta Connect started off promising on the gaming front. Viewers got release dates for Iron Man VR, an upcoming Quest game that was previously a PS VR exclusive, as well as Among Us VR. Meta, which owns Facebook, also announced that it was acquiring three major VR game studios -- Armature Studio, Camouflaj Team, and Twisted Pixel -- although we don’t know what they’re working on just yet.

Unfortunately, that’s where the Meta Connect's gaming section mostly ended. Besides tiny glimpses and a look into fitness, video games were not the show's focus. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted to focus on what seemed to be his company’s real vision of VR's future, which involves a lot of legs and a lot of work with the Quest Pro, a mixed reality headset that'll cost a whopping $1,500.

Read more