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New defibrillator signals doctor of patient's irregular heartbeat or device malfunction

Loyola first in U.S. to implant new FDA-approved device

In a major advance for heart patients, Loyola University Health System is the first hospital in the U.S. to implant into a patient a new FDA-approved defibrillator which automatically signals the doctor via wireless satellite transmission if the patient's heart beats abnormally or if the device malfunctions, e.g., battery failure.

When a patient's status changes, a built-in microchip of Biotronik's Lumos DR-T implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) sends a signal to a satellite via a small transmitter that can be placed on a nightstand, worn on a belt or kept in a purse. In addition, Biotronik's Home Monitoring system virtually instantaneously sends a beat-by-beat record (similar to an electrocardiogram (ECG)) of any heart rhythm abnormality which the doctor can view on a secure website.

"The patient doesn't have to press any button or call the doctor to activate the system," said cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Niraj Varma, associate professor of medicine, division of cardiology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and director of the cardiac electrophysiology lab, Loyola University Health System, Maywood, Ill. The notification signal is automatically generated, even if the patient is unaware of any problems. The doctor can program the device to send an alert for specific reasons, such as a significant increase in the number of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) episodes, as well as the preferred alert method, i.e., via email, cell phone, fax or page.

"With this surveillance system, physicians for the first time have a way to monitor non-hospitalized heart patients 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week," he said. "It will enable us to identify problems early on as well as help prevent problems."

Implanted in the chest, the ICD is a small electronic device which shocks the heart back into a healthy rhythm if it detects an abnormal heartbeat.
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Source:Loyola University Health System


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