Health

First for Western Sydney: World’s smallest pacemaker sets heart pacing at Norwest

The first person in Western Sydney to receive the world’s smallest pacemaker was a patient at Norwest Private Hospital.

John Alessi, an 86 year old grandfather underwent a procedure performed by Cardiologist Dr Ajita Kanthan and the Norwest team to implant the tiny pacemaker.


Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is the latest in pacemaker technology, the size of a large vitamin and weighing less than a coin, it is unique in that it attaches directly to the heart wall, without the need for thin wires or leads.

After a stroke last year, Mr Alessi began to experience bradycardia where the heart beats too slowly so was advised that a pacemaker would help to regulate his heart.

According to Mr Alessi’s daughter Liana Zavisic, “It was a fantastic experience. Less complications, blood thinners only had to be stopped a day before the procedure, not five days as with other pacemakers which can cause risk of further stroke and he was able to move freely after the procedure.”

Pacemaker therapy is the most common way to treat bradycardia, where the heart beats with a slow or irregular rhythm. When the heart beats too slowly, it is not able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body, causing dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath.

A pacemaker sends electrical impulses to pace the heart when the rhythm is too slow and restores it to a normal level, around 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Unlike traditional pacemakers, Micra does not require a surgical “pocket” under the skin, so potential sources of complications are eliminated, as well as any visible signs of the device.

Patients generally experience results instantly with their heart pacing at a normal rhythm, and are able to return home the following day.

Mrs Zavisic says that her father has had follow up with Dr Kanthan and is doing well with the Micra pacemaker which now regulates his heart 87 per cent of the time.

Norwest Private Hospital was not only the site of the first Micra procedure in Western Sydney but was recently the site of the 100th Micra procedure in Australia.