IT'S only the size of a large vitamin, but one Hunter doctor has likened a "revolutionary" cardiac pacemaker to upgrading from a landline to a mobile phone.
"You would never go back," Dr Bradley Wilsmore, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist, said.
"It is a huge development in terms of pacemaker design and technology. We have gone from big old cans with leads and high infection and high complication rates, to a miniaturised pacemaker that doesn't have any leads and is inserted directly into the heart. It is good for patients, it is good for proceduralists, and it is utilising current, up-to-date, technology that paces the heart very accurately.
"It is a very clever device."
Dr Wilsmore has been offering eligible patients the option of the "Medtronic Micra TPS" pacemaker at Lingard Private Hospital for the past three months.
Only a small handful of Hunter patients have received the pacemaker so far.
"They have been fantastic," Dr Wilsmore said.
"Nationally, not a whole bunch of people have the skills to implant them yet."
He said the "micro" was a tenth of the size of traditional pacemakers, but at present, it could only help those who required a "single lead" device.
"Because it is so small, we put it directly into the heart, so it doesn't require a lead - which is where a lot of problems and complications come from - infection, dislodgement, extractions.
"To have a system designed without leads is amazing.
"And it is all put in through the vein in your leg."
He said because no wound was created by the implantation procedure, fewer follow up visits were required, and patients were usually "up and walking" within four hours.
"It is undoubtedly where all pacemakers will go," he said. "When a heart goes too slow, for instance, we don't have any drugs or medications or lifestyle changes or interventions that can make it speed up. The only option we have is a pacemaker."
Valentine resident Shirley Considine, 76, said she had "atrial fibrillation" which had put her pulse rate "sky high".
"I couldn't do much. My legs felt like lead, and I was puffing all the time like an old train," Mrs Considine said.
She opted to have the new pacemaker technology implanted on March 19. She wanted to be well enough for her grandson's wedding.
"I feel a lot better now," she said. "And I am hoping after a check up next week that I won't have to take any medication for it at all anymore.
"I didn't like the idea of something I could feel under the skin. But I can't feel this at all. And with this one, I can still have an MRI if needed, or go through the security gates at the airport no problem. It's a revolutionary thing to have in Newcastle."