Medtronic previews leadless pacemaker

Holy cow! That’s one small pacemaker.

As MedCity News reported in August, Medtronic Inc., based in Fridley, has been working on a wireless pacemaker. The company didn’t offer any details, but reports say doctors can implant the device directly into the right ventricle of the heart.

Now, thanks to Engadget, a blog owned by AOL, we get our first look at what Medtronic has been cooking up. The company debuted its pacemaker at the annual TEDMED conference in San Diego.

Dr. Stephen Osterle, senior vice president of medicine and technology and member of Medtronic’s Executive Management Team, unveiled the device.

The capsule-like device is slightly bigger than a penny but downright invisible compared to a regular pacemaker. Doctors apparently can control the device with a smart phone.

The pacemaker sure has come a long way since the days of Dr. Earl Baaken.

Implanting pacemakers without using wires could lower the cost of the surgery, industry analysts say. A pacemaker that small also would be easier to insert and consume less power.

Medtronic is working on shrinking it further, Engadget reports.

That’s kind of ironic. It doesn’t seem that long ago when medical device developers raced each other to make smaller and thinner wires. Now apparently, they’re just focusing on making the devices smaller.

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