A South African hospital has become the first to implant the world's smallest pacemaker. Groote Schuur Hospital achieved the milestone ahead of hospitals in Turkey, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The pacemaker, called the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), is nearly one-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker. According to Dr. Ashley Chin from Groote Schuur, the size of the Micra TPS has evolved over the years. However, the cardiologist revealed that the device exhibits a 4percent complication rate.

“A conventional pacemaker comprises of a generator, which is the size of a watch, and that’s attached to a lead which is inserted into the heart. The problem is that over time the lead and the generator will develop complications over the medium- to long-term,” Chin said.

The Micra TPS is inserted into the heart through the femoral vein in the groin. Thus, the pacemaker does not require incisions under the skin or on the chest, as traditional pacemakers do. Therefore, Micra TPS presents minimal chances for complications.

The device is attached to the heart with the help of small tines. The electrical impulses generated by the device are delivered to the heart using the electrodes at each end, resulting in increased pace of the heart.

“We are proud that the Groote Schuur Hospital was selected among an elite group of institutions to take part in this global clinical trial. If positive, the results of the trial could potentially benefit the more than one million people globally who receive pacemakers each year,” Chin said in a statement.