News & Announcements

Phoebe Adds New Minimally-Invasive Leadless Pacemaker in Treating Electrical System of the Heart

Albany, Ga. – Southwest Georgia patients with bradycardia, a slow heart rate (sustained below 60 beats per minute), now have local access to a new treatment option.

Kamil Hanna, MD, cardiac electrophysiologist with Phoebe’s heart and vascular program, recently began implanting the Micra transcatheter pacing system device -- a leadless pacemaker which is one-tenth the size of traditional pacemakers -- to regulate heart rhythms. Unlike the traditional pacemaker which is surgically implanted under the skin with a lead threaded into the heart, the new Micra pacemaker is placed into the heart through a vein in the patient’s leg and does not require a lead.

“As we age, there is normal wear and tear on the electrical systems of the heart,” Dr. Hanna explained, “As a result the normal rhythm tends to slow down.”

A malfunction in the sinus node – the heart’s “natural pacemaker” – is the most common cause for bradycardia. The sinus node controls how quickly the top and bottom chamber pump blood through the body. Another cause may be atrioventricular block (AV block), which results in heart rate drop.

While a low-heart rate may not always be a problem, in many cases it does require treatment.

 “Young adults, trained athletes and exercise enthusiasts, can be perfectly healthy with a heart rate below-60. However, if they have symptoms associated with a slow heart rate, such as lack of energy, low stamina, dizziness, weakness, chest pains, confusion, heart palpitation or flutters, but ignore them, it may cause far more serious problems. When heart rates drop into the 30s, blood-rich oxygen to the brain is reduced and could cause fainting or difficulty of breathing. Even more life-threatening, advanced AV-block or Asystole can cause loss of consciousness or even death,” shared Hanna.

Dr. Hanna and his colleague, Edward Koomson, MD, of Phoebe Electrophysiology are among a handful of physicians in Georgia who specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of abnormal heart rhythms. In addition to catheter ablations, they perform implants of pacemakers and defibrillators and laser lead extractions, a high-risk procedure to remove the leads of previous implants.

News Release: Thursday, October 5, 2017
Amanda Clements, Public Relations Coordinator
Phoebe Putney Health System