Steward Medical Group Cardiologist at Rockledge Regional implants 'world's smallest pacemaker into patient's heart

A new medical device about the size of a large vitamin and as lightweight as a penny is changing the face of cardiac care for patients whose hearts beat too slowly. Steward Medical Group cardiologist Sujata Balulad, MD, who is on the medical staff at Rockledge Regional Medical Center, recently implanted the first device at the hospital.


“This is a wonderful breakthrough for patients,” said Dr. Balulad. “There’s no bump in the chest and the patients can barely tell they have a pacemaker at all.”


Dr. Balulad implanted the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, made by Medtronic, into a patient’s heart at Rockledge Regional Medical Center in June. The Micra is minimally invasive and is inserted into the heart’s right ventricle through a vein in the patient’s groin. Dubbed the “world’s smallest pacemaker,” the Micra is about one-tenth the side of a conventional pacemaker and delivers electrical pulses to the heart directly, without leads. Four tiny tines anchor the Micra in place and its battery will last for 9-12 years. Its size makes having the implant device more comfortable for the patient and the lack of leads, or wires that conventional pacemakers use to carry electronic impulses to the heart, means the device carries less risk of failing.


“This pacemaker cannot be implanted in all patients, but in the future, with advancements in technology, we may be able to offer this to all the patients needing pacemakers,” said Dr. Balulad. Additionally, the Micra, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2016, also reduces the infection rate for patients who have a high risk of infection, she said.


“Rockledge Regional Medical Center is proud to introduce this revolutionary device for patients who are medically appropriate to undergo the procedure,” said Andy Romine, president of Rockledge Regional Medical Center. “Dr. Balulad’s talents and skills in treating patients with the novel Micra pacemaker will serve to help many more patients in the future.”


Pacemakers, including the Micra, were designed to treat a condition known as bradycardia, in which the heart beats too slowly or in an irregular rhythm. Patients with bradycardia often suffer dizziness, fatigue and other symptoms because the heart is unable to pump enough oxygenated blood throughout the body. The pacemaker’s electrical pulse regulates the heart’s rhythm, restoring a normal heart rate.


“The innovative technology our providers use is a hallmark of Steward Medical Group” said Sanjay Shetty, MD, MBA, president of the medical group. “We are constantly looking for ways to enhance the care we provide to our patients and the use of the Micra pacemaker is yet another example of breakthrough technology available to help our patients achieve their highest quality of life.”


Dr. Balulad is a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist who is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and clinical cardiac electrophysiology. She came to the Rockledge Regional Medical Center in August 2017. Before joining the Steward Medical Group, Dr. Balulad completed a fellowship in clinical cardiac electrophysiology at the Hemsley Center for Electrophysiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY. She earned her medical degree at Topiwala National Medical College in Mumbai, India.


Dr. Balulad practices at Heart Rhythm Associates, 119 Longwood Avenue, in Rockledge. She is accepting new patients and the office may be reached at 321-632-6963.

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