Implantable wireless cardiac monitor a “game changer”

October 06, 2015 | by Cash Casey, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

Allyce Jarzabkowski of Aurora had been experiencing fainting episodes for a period of time. Traditional cardiac testing and monitoring devices were unable to determine what was causing the episodes. That is, until the Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor System.

In spring 2014, Elmhurst Hospital became the first hospital in the western suburbs to implant the smallest available wireless cardiac monitor in a patient — and that patient was Allyce. The Reveal LINQ, which is about one-third the size of an AAA battery, allows me and Allyce’s primary care physician, Dr. Emmanuel Linchangco, to monitor her irregular heartbeat (a risk factor for stroke) for up to three years while remaining virtually undetectable under her skin.

The insertion is done on an outpatient basis. The monitor is placed just below the skin via an incision that is less than 1 cm, and is nearly invisible to the naked eye once inserted. The monitor transmits data daily to a patient’s physician, who can request notifications to alert them if the patient is having a cardiac event.

Each night while Allyce sleeps, information stored on her monitor is wirelessly transmitted to us via a remote monitoring system. While a continuous record of cardiac activity is transmitted each day, Allyce has a handheld device she can use to alert us when she feels unusual cardiac activity, such as an irregular heartbeat or a fainting episode.

“You don’t have to have anything external attached to you,” says Allyce. “You can put the little handheld device in your purse. Nothing is visible.”

Allyce’s quality of life has been significantly affected by intermittent dizziness and fainting. Now that I implanted the Reveal LINQ, we are going to be able to rule in or rule out whether there is a cardiac cause of her symptoms.

External cardiac monitors are not worn for extended periods of time and may not capture an episode of atrial fibrillation. The insertable cardiac monitor, on the other hand, can be left in place for up to three years, which increases the chances of detecting a condition.

This monitor is a game changer in the diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias. It’s an easy procedure for the patient and the subsequent monitoring doesn't interrupt their lifestyle while we wait for a diagnosis.

Find out if you’re at risk for heart disease. Take a free five-minute test that could save your life.

Learn more about heart care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Cash Casey, MD, is a cardiologist with Elmhurst Hospital and Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group.

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