Mid-Michigan man first patient to receive micro pacemaker at Fli - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan man first patient to receive micro pacemaker at Flint hospital

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The pacemaker is compared in size to a quarter. (Source: WNEM) The pacemaker is compared in size to a quarter. (Source: WNEM)
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

A local man is getting his life back thanks to some tiny technology.

He is being kept alive by a device the size of a large vitamin.

He is the first person in Mid-Michigan to receive one of the world's smallest pacemakers. It is so small it can be placed directly into a chamber of the heart.

The incredible new option helps keep the heart pumping without wires and can be MRI safe.

"This means that I'm going to be living a little bit longer, as long as my heart ain't stopping," said Michael Johnson, heart patient.

Johnson got a new lease on life thanks to the innovative pacemaker.

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System made its debut at McLaren-Flint Hospital this month. Johnson was the first patient to get the device.

"I was really short breathed. I would just walk into certain places and stuff. Now I haven't had all those dizzy feelings," Johnson said.

He has diabetes and kidney disease. He used to attribute his lack of energy and breathing problems to that, but doctors discovered he also had a slow heart rhythm. He was in need of a pacemaker.

Traditional options are about the size of a wrist watch. For Johnson, doctors said they were too big and risky. His doctor, Mustafa Hassan, recommended the micra TPS.

"His heart was actually pausing for a few seconds. Additionally, it was beginning to get very, very slow at times. When we looked at his case, the option of a regular pacemaker was not a choice for him," Hassan said.

Hassan said complications from dialysis made this the best choice for Johnson because it can be inserted lower in the body. It also has a lower risk of infection.

The device was inserted through Johnson's groin area and placed inside the heart. Unlike a typical pacemaker, once implanted there is no visible sign of the device.

Johnson's wife Timitha said the only sign the device is there is his better health.

"He has more energy and his color has come back. He used to drag and was always sick," she said.

Johnson said he is already doing things that used to be nearly impossible.

"I plan on getting on my tractor to cut the grass today. See how that goes," he said.

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