New Pacemaker Helps People With Heart Conditions

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Hundreds of people in the U.S. have a pacemaker implanted every year to treat certain heart conditions.

Over the years, technology has improved so much there’s now a new pacemaker requiring minimal surgery and weighs less than a small coin.

At 80-years-old, Billy Hulsey is usually vibrant and agile, but one day he and his wife Wanda noticed something was wrong.

“I was running out of breath and my heart rate got down to the low 40s,” he said.

Billy was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, and even when he tried to exercise his heart rate wouldn’t increase, so his doctor recommended a pacemaker.

“The pacemaker helps a person because it keeps the heart rate beating in a regular fashion at a normal rate,” said Dr. Michael Lloyd, a cardiologist at Emory University.

Dr. Lloyd decided Billy was a good candidate for a non-traditional pacemaker called the micra transcatheter pacing system.

“The traditional pacemaker has the battery and electronics in this component here, but then it’s attached to this long wire that then goes to the heart to stimulate the heart to beat. What makes the micra pacemaker different and special is that all these components are self-contained in this capsule and this capsule is placed directly within the heart through an IV tube,” said Dr. Lloyd.

Less than two weeks after Billy had the device implanted, he’s already feeling stronger.

“I feel great,” he said.

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