Tiny, new cardiac monitor measures heart rhythms

Dizziness, palpitations, fainting, and chest pain all may be signs of an abnormal heart rhythm. Kalamazoo resident and former WMU professor Carol Payne Smith, experienced none of them before she went unconscious.

"One day I woke up on the floor with a black eye. I’d passed out at the kitchen counter without any warning," says Smith, an otherwise healthy and active retiree.

She discovered that her episode resulted from a condition called cardiac arrhythmia, a malfunction in the heart’s electrical impulses that coordinate how it beats.  

She was a perfect candidate for a new procedure to monitor abnormal heart rhythms and didn’t hesitate. Smith became one of the first in Southwest Michigan to receive a newly approved device that uses cellular technology.

The Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor is one-third the size of a AAA battery. That makes it the smallest on the market and 80 percent smaller than similar devices. As a result, physicians need only a one-centimeter incision to implant the monitor.

The implant process takes less than a minute and patients are in and out of the hospital the same day.

"I was ready for a big deal but it didn’t take long at all. It was just a matter of scrubbing off that area of my chest and getting a local anesthetic," Smith says. "I experienced no pain at the time, or afterward, and there is no scar whatsoever. It’s just under the skin, but I barely know it’s there."

The implanted monitor transmits data wirelessly, constantly checking her heart beat. A small bedside base unit transmits the data to her physician’s office in real time. The monitor is water- and MRI proof, and works from nearly any location in the world. It sends an alert if she experiences another cardiac event.

Physicians at Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare are the first in Southwest Michigan to offer the device.

Brett J. Eliuk, DO, FACC, FACOI and Christopher Rogers, DO, FACC, FACAI, of  Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare, are the two physicians trained to implant this device. For more information on Bronson’s heart and vascular program, visit bronsonhealth.com/heart.

Source: Candice Elders, Bronson