Friday, 14 August 2009 00:00
Imagine being able to know that your pacemaker’s battery is running low from a wireless monitor at your bedside. Now, thanks to a new FDA-approved device, patients won’t have to visit their doctor’s office to have their batteries checked; instead, they will be getting a call from their doctor who is connected to a central monitoring station.
Steven Greenberg, MD, a leading cardiologist at St. Francis Hospital’s world renowned Arrhythmia and Pacemaker Center was the first physician in the U.S. to implant the Accent RF pacemaker, the high-tech device manufactured by St. Jude Medical, Inc. Its remote monitoring capabilities allow doctors to more efficiently follow patients, while patients enjoy the convenience of care from home.
“Wireless communication is used everywhere today. Now, it can help us provide round-the-clock care for our patients through a secure notification system that can be programmed to meet a patient’s specific needs,” says Dr. Greenberg. “Rather than checking on a device a few times a year, daily alerts allow me to know about important changes in my patient’s condition or device functions so I can act more quickly in addressing any issues.”
The automatic alerts are designed to notify a physician when a rapid atrial rate, atrial tachycardia or atrial fibrillation exceeds the programmed value of the pacemaker or occurs over an extended period of time. The devices can be programmed to notify a patient of such episodes, as well as device and lead-related issues, through a two-tone audible alert. In addition, the patient’s clinic can be informed through the home monitoring system.
Carol Kasyjanski, an account clerk for the City of Glen Cove, was the first person to receive the device. “It helps me rest easier knowing that if there are any sudden changes in my condition the wireless monitor on my night table will let me and my doctor know,” says Carol who finds the monitor very simple to use. “I am considering bringing it with me on my next vacation.”
There are about three million people worldwide with pacemakers and 600,000 more are implanted each year. Cardiac pacemakers are used to treat bradycardia, which is a heart rate that is too slow. These devices monitor the heart and provide electrical stimulation when the heart beats too slowly for a patient’s specific physiological needs.