Inserted cardiac monitor replaces cumbersome traditional equipment

2014-04-24T16:00:00Z 2014-04-24T17:43:19Z Inserted cardiac monitor replaces cumbersome traditional equipmentVanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP | A cardiac monitoring device about one-third the size of a AAA battery is available locally, helping cardiologists diagnose and monitor irregular heartbeats while providing patients a less-invasive procedure.

Porter Regional Hospital has started to implant in patients the Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) System, the smallest implantable cardiac monitoring device. 

Interventional cardiologist Dr. Sandeep Sehgal was the first to implant the device at the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine at Porter Regional Hospital. He has implanted six since the device was released last month.

The new implantable device is more than 80 percent smaller than previous monitors but still allow cardiac patients to be wirelessly monitored for up to three years.

The device is placed under the skin through a small incision in the chest in a minimally invasive procedure. 

Sehgal compared the procedure to visiting a dental office. The site is numbed, the device is injected and the patient can drive home the same day. There are no stitches, he said.

"The previous one had to be done with minor surgery with a half-inch to quarter-inch incision," Sehgal said. "Now, it is injectable. The patient is wide awake."

The monitor is ideal for patients with dizziness, palpitations, fainting and chest pain that might suggest a cardiac arrhythmia, as well as for patients at increased risk for cardiac arrhythmias, according to Porter Regional Hospital. 

Those who faint for an unknown reason can benefit from the device because it monitors 24/7. It can record the heart rate at the time of the fainting spell, so doctors can decide the correct course of action, Sehgal said.

It is also beneficial for stroke patients, as 30 to 40 percent of strokes have unknown causes, he said.

Atrial fibrillation, called A-fib, is a cause of stroke. Wearing a monitor can confirm whether a stroke patient has A-fib. That documentation allows doctors to prescribe blood thinners to help control the condition, he said.

And even though the device is a metallic foreign object, patients can undergo an MRI, Sehgal said.

“Porter’s new injectable cardiac monitor is so discreet that most patients will not even know it is there and they can go about their lives without interruption or discomfort from the device,” cardiologist Dr. Keith Atassi said. “My first implant case was for syncope, or unexplained fainting. The device helps me continuously monitor my patient and determine if he is at risk for cardiac arrhythmia.”

The system also provides remote monitoring so doctors can request alerts if a patient has a cardiac event. 

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