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First hospital in Texas to place world’s smallest, longest-lasting wireless, MRI compatible pacemaker

Mary Barnett could never have imagined she would become a “medical first” when a when a migraine headache and low heart rate brought her into the emergency room last Thursday.

Tests revealed the 84-year-old McKinney resident was experiencing a heart block. The condition prevents electrical signals from the upper chambers of the heart from reaching the bottom chambers of the heart, impacting the heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body.

The solution for Mary was to implant a pacemaker, a device that produces electrical impulses to stimulate heart beats at regular intervals. Within hours of Mary’s diagnosis, Dale Yoo, MD, medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at Medical City McKinney, implanted Mary with the world’s smallest, longest-lasting wireless, MRI compatible pacemaker, Assurity MRI™. The device received FDA approval just one day earlier.

“It’s important to keep the patient’s need in mind when placing a pacemaker,” said Dr. Yoo. “We don’t know what type of medical tests a patient is going to need in the future, so an MRI-safe pacemaker provides the patient with plenty of flexibility.”

With this newest technology, patients can activate the MRI-safe setting on their own with the click of a button, without waiting for an outside pacemaker technician to change the device setting for them.

The Assurity MRI™ is about the size of thin, chocolate wafer cookie, with a battery designed to last 10 years. A wireless monitor sits on the patient’s bedside and diagnostic data is sent securely to the physician every night while the patient sleeps. This allows the physician to monitor and identify any abnormal activity that might require medication adjustments, reducing hospital readmissions.

“The patient doesn’t have to think about the pacemaker. With wireless transmission there is nothing for the patient to do. It’s done for them,” said Dr. Yoo.

As more patients are diagnosed with conditions requiring a pacemakers, those offering more patient benefits will become the standard of care.

“At Medical City McKinney we are on the leading edge of medicine, and provide our patients’ with the most advanced technologies and treatment,” said Dr. Yoo.

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