July 2018   
GW Electrophysiologists Implant  the World's Smallest Pacemaker

GW Heart & Vascular Institute electrophysiologists, Drs. Marco Mercader, Cynthia Tracy, and Allen Solomon, have started implanting the world's smallest pacemaker - Medtronic's Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) device - providing new state-of-the-art care for select patients at the George Washington University Hospital.

Over the years pacemakers have become smaller and smaller. The first heart pacemaker was implanted in 1958. This was a bulky device with short battery life and required a large incision to place it in the chest. Starting in 1969, with the advent of lithium batteries, pacemakers could last several years. A standard pacemaker is placed under the skin in the chest below the left collarbone with a lead (wire) that goes from the pacemaker box through a vein into the right ventricle.

The Micra TPS is less than one-tenth the size of traditional pacemakers and comparable in size to a large vitamin capsule. Inserted through a vein in the leg, this tiny pacemaker is placed directly in the right ventricle without the need for any wires. The device is attached directly to the heart using tines, and delivers electrical impulses that pace the heart through an electrode at the end of the device. This procedure only takes thirty minutes compared to two hours for a traditional pacemaker implantation. The Micra TPS battery can last for up to 12 years. The new Micra is not for everyone who needs a pacemaker. It is appropriate for patients who only need a single-lead or pacing in the right ventricle only.

Dr. Marco Mercader looks forward to the future mini pacemakers coming out to detect both the right atrium and right ventricle. "The advancement in dual-chamber pacing technology will be appropriate for a wider group of patients and should be available within the next two years," said Dr. Mercader.
The GW Heart & Vascular Institute Welcomes 
GW Cardiology Fellows

The GW General Cardiology Fellowship, under the leadership of Allen Solomon, MD, Professor of Medicine, offers a three-year cardiology intensive training program to recent graduates of internal medicine residency programs. Our incoming fellows were selected from a group of more than 200 applicants to train under the GW cardiology faculty and to have opportunities to lead academic research studies through the Institute's annual research awards. The Institute also sponsors advanced fellowships for cardiology fellows to further specialize as electrophysiologists or interventional cardiologists. Dr. Cynthia Tracy directs the electrophysiology training program and Dr. Ramesh Mazhari leads the interventional fellowship. 
This July, we welcomed the following fellows:
GW General Cardiology Fellows
  • Bayo Atande, MD, completed his medical school training in Nigeria where he was the top graduate in his class. As a medical resident at Howard University he served as Chief Resident for the Howard University Medical Clinics. Dr Atande has produced publications and abstract presentations and received the National Medical Association's Young Investigator Award in 2017.
  • Nardos Temesgen, MD, did her undergraduate work at VCU and received her medical degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Dr. Nardos completed her internal medicine residency at GW and participated in research projects on heart disease and e-cigarettes and using cell phone apps to quit smoking.
  • Shani Weerakoon, MD, was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania and received his medical degree from Georgetown University. He has co-authored several posters and abstracts on heart failure. 
Electrophysiology Fellow
  • Kiran Kanjerla, MD, started his two-year advanced electrophysiology fellowship this summer. Kiran comes to GW after receiving his medical degree at the Osmania Medical College in Telangana, India. In the past year he received advanced training in interventional cardiology.     
Interventional Cardiology Fellows
  • Muhammad Tariq, MD, came to Washington, DC after completing his internal medicine residency at the Cleveland Clinic. He completed his general cardiology fellowship at the Washington Hospital Center.
  • Samad Zaheerudinn, MD, completed his medical degree, internal medicine residency and general cardiology fellowship at Georgetown University.

Dr. Cynthia Tracy Serves on 
National Cardiovascular Committees

In July, Dr. Cynthia Tracy, GW Associate Director of Cardiology and Director of Electrophysiology, served as a grant reviewer on the Oversite Advisory Committee for the American Heart Association "Strategically Focused Research Network on Atrial Fibrillation." Dr. Tracy will continue as a member of this national committee. Dr. Tracy also assisted with creating the recent American College of Cardiology Self-Assessment Program and was selected to serve on the planning committees for the 2019 American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society Scientific Sessions planning committees.