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Vassar Brothers Unveils Tiny Pacemaker

Sarah Levin
Sarah Levin Photo Credit: Contributed

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. --  A medical breakthrough is taking place at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.

Cardiologists at the hospital are providing their patients with the world's smallest pacemaker, a transcatheter that is 1/10th the size of a regular pacemaker. A pacemaker is a medical device implanted under the skin that uses an electrical impulse to help keep the heart from going too slow or going to faster.

Dr. Sarah Levin, a cardiac electrophysicist cardiologist at Vassar said regular pacemakers can cause issues like infections, bleeding, and the cable installed is a potential risk for fracture or wearing down. 

"It’s tough for patients," Dr. Levin said. "Sometimes they're not great at following restrictions. People can have complications."

Levin called the transcatheter an exciting new development. The transcatheter is the size of a multivitamin pill and is all one unit, inserted into the right ventricle of the heart. 

"There are no restrictions," Levin said. "This is where the technology is headed. It's very exciting."

The cardiologist cautioned that the transcatheter is not for everyone but it has been well studied and well researched. Only 10 percent of patients are generally eligible for the transcatheter. 

"Patients have been quite happy with it, their families too," Levin said. "When I show them the transcatheter next to a regular pacemaker side by side, they want the transcatheter. It's really fun to be a part of."

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