Mae Stephens of Conway became the first person in Faulkner County to receive the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), the world’s smallest pacemaker, during a procedure at Conway Regional Health System June 12.

The hospital, the only one in the county to offer the device, announced the feat in a news release June 13.

The 87-year-old received the new type of heart device, which is the world’s smallest pacemaker, due to having bradycardia, a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm.

According to the release, the device, the size of a large vitamin, gives several patient benefits that do not require cardiac wires or surgical pocket under the skin to deliver the pacing therapy.

The Micra TPS is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and is implanted directly into the heart, which gives a safe alternative to other pacemakers without the complications of the wires.

Dr. Don Steely, an interventional cardiologist with the Conway Regional Cardiovascular Clinic performed the procedure.

“I’m pleased with the outcome of the first procedure,” Steely said in the release. “The new miniature pacemaker eliminates the need for surgery for my patient. Implanting the pacemaker using a catheter took about 30 minutes. I am very grateful to Conway Regional for investing in this advanced technology for our patients. This is a positive step for the community.”

Bradycardia causes fewer than 60 beats per minute in its patients and keeps the heart from pumping an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath and/or fainting spells.

Pacemakers are the most common way to treat the condition and helps restore the heart’s normal rhythm and relieves symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate, according to the release.

Medtronic’s website states that the invasive approach leads to a 99 percent implant success rate and 63 percent few major complications than other more traditional devices.

“The Micra TPS also incorporates a retrieval feature to enable retrieval of the device when possible; however, the device is designed to be left in the body,” the release reads. “For patients who need more than one heart device, the miniaturized Micra TPS was designed with a unique feature that enables it to be permanently turned off so it can remain in the body and a new device can be implanted without risk of electrical interaction.”

The Micra TPS was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2016 and is able to be used for both 1.5 and 3 Tesla (T) full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, is designed to allow patients to be followed by their

physicians and send data remotely via the Medtronic CareLink Network and has been granted Medicare reimbursement, given more broad patient access to the technology.