photo collage
  • ECONOMIC VALUE: By reducing procedure time we may help improve hospital efficiencies.

    Economic Value
  • CLINICAL OUTCOMES: Reducing the size of implantable devices to this level could someday make delivery less invasive, with the goal of reducing procedure time, speeding recovery, and lowering the risk of infection.

    Clinical Outcomes
  • SOCIETAL IMPACT: New implant procedures, with the goal of making them more accessible to more doctors, can be important in underserved markets with large numbers of patients.

    Societal Impact

A Big Leap in Miniaturization

Miniaturization

When it comes to putting medical devices in the human body, smaller is usually better. Besides being less noticeable to patients, smaller devices also require less disruption to the body during implantation. Over the years, we've continually made many of our products smaller. But now we're taking miniaturization to a revolutionary new level.

The Pacemaker Evolution

Important safety information
about Medtronic pacemakers

Our flagship product introduced in 1958 was the first external, battery-powered pacemaker. Since then, we've worked to continuously make pacemakers gradually smaller and more efficient over the years.

pacemaker photo
pacemaker photo
pacemaker photo
pacemaker photo
1958 1960 1986 2008

shown at about 50% of actual size

The Pacemaker Revolution

video screenshot

Miniaturization Video >

The Pacemaker Revolution - Today

Today

The Pacemaker Revolution - Future

Future

We're currently developing a whole new type of pacemaker. It's still in an early concept phase but, if successful, could revolutionize the industry. Our vision is a pacemaker the size of a vitamin capsule. Because it may be small enough to fit directly in the heart — versus today's placement, just below the skin near the collarbone — it could eliminate the need for today's lead wires that connect the pacemaker to the heart.

This combination of smaller size and placement could allow physicians to insert the pacemaker via a tube (catheter) into a small incision in the leg and directed up to the heart. This seemingly less invasive and less complicated procedure may be easier for physicians to perform and easier on patients, since it's less disruptive to the body.

This future procedure may also help increase hospital efficiencies, with the goal of reduced procedure time and eliminating the need to stock and keep track of lead wires.

Making implantation easier is also important in our quest to make our therapies more available in underserved pacemaker markets, where it's challenging to train enough physicians in complicated implant surgeries to accommodate the large number of patients who could benefit from a pacemaker.

This concept is in very early development; its success and risk have not been evaluated.

Benefit Summary

By rethinking the possibilities of miniaturization, we're poised to revolutionize how implantable devices are delivered, with the goal of improved outcomes and reduced overall healthcare system costs.

  • ECONOMIC VALUE: By reducing procedure time we may help improve hospital efficiencies.
  • CLINICAL OUTCOMES: Reducing the size of implantable devices to this level could someday make delivery less invasive, with the goal of reducing procedure time, speeding recovery, and lowering the risk of infection.
  • SOCIETAL IMPACT: New implant procedures, with the goal of making them more accessible to more doctors, can be important in underserved markets with large numbers of patients.