Doctors urge caution over tiny new pacemakers

A tiny, wireless pacemaker could offer some heart patients a surgery-free alternative to the traditional devices, a new study says.

Doctors urge caution over tiny new pacemakers

Some doctors, however, say there are lingering safety questions and warned patients not to rush to get the new technology.

Unlike traditional pacemakers — which need a generator and wires and are implanted via surgery — the new pacemaker is a wireless tiny tube that can be attached to the right side of the heart using a catheter inserted through the leg.

“This is another landmark in the development of pacemakers,” said Dr Christopher Granger of the American Heart Association, who was not part of the new study.

Still, he said doctors need time to learn how to use any new technology to avoid potential problems. “I would tell patients to be careful of being one of the first to get this unless there’s a compelling reason,” he said.

In the new research, doctors in Australia, Canada and the US implanted the mini-pacemaker into more than 500 people.

After six months, nearly 7% of patients reported side effects including the device poking holes in their heart. About 10% of patients with regular pacemakers suffer complications.

The study was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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