Health Care, Lakeshore, and Technology

Health system implants new heart-monitoring device

February 27, 2014
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Health system implants new heart-monitoring device
The Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor is approximately one-third the size of a AAA battery. Courtesy Mercy Health

A health care system's cardiologists are among the first in the state to help cardiac-arrhythmia patients with a new device recently approved by the FDA.

Mercy Health Muskegon, a multi-campus health care system, said this week it has begun implanting the innovative Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor System in patients.

The system is one of the first in the state to use the ICM in a patient, according to hospital officials.

The device was launched by Medtronic, a global medical technology firm based in Minneapolis. The ICM is 80 percent smaller than other products on the market and uses cellular technology, through the Carelink Network, to transmit patient data to physicians remotely.

The two most common complications of an abnormal heart rhythm are stroke and heart failure.

Dr. D. Dirk Donnema, cardiologist of Westshore Cardiology in Muskegon, said it allows instantaneous monitoring from anywhere, giving physicians the ability to evaluate the patient’s heart rhythm and make appropriate adjustments.

“What I think we will be able to do is get information about patients and take care of them in a very timely and appropriate manner,” Donnema said.

Although cardiologists and physicians have used heart monitors for numerous years to assist in diagnosis and management of cardiac disease or disorders, abnormal heart rhythms are infrequent, according to Donnema. This proves difficult in identifying the causes and what the abnormalities may be.

“With a heart monitor such as this, we will be able to get that information,” Donnema said. “By not only getting information from the patient in a continuous fashion, but also get that back to them in a very straightaway and appropriate manner to make the right changes.”

Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the ICM is roughly 33 percent the size of a AAA battery. It is also powerful enough to last up to three years, with 20 percent more data than its larger predecessor Reveal XT, according to Medtronic.

Greg Loomis, president of Mercy Health Muskegon, said the cardiologists are at the forefront of this new technology.

The implantation of the new ICM on Feb. 24 in a patient was one of the first times the procedure occurred in the nation. This underscores the commitment the health care system has in providing "life-changing cardiac care and services to the region,” Loomis said.

Mercy Health Muskegon, through Donnema, worked carefully with Medtronic and selected patients with clinical syndromes or situations that put them at risk for cardiac arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm and who could benefit from the new monitor.

“I was able to work very closely with the folks that are involved in the manufacture and development of the device,” Donnema said. “And they thought we would be an excellent site to bring this out and help provide safety for the folks here at the lakeshore.”

The ICM is placed under the skin of the chest in a simple outpatient procedure and is considered minimally invasive, according to Medtronic’s website. It is designed for patients who experience cardiac-arrhythmia symptoms, such as palpitations, fainting, chest pain and dizziness.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia, and an estimated 12 million people will have the condition by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atrial fibrillation refers to when the upper heart chambers contract irregularly.

The use of the new device by Mercy Health Muskegon is a continuation of what the health care system has already established, according to Donnema.

"We’re going to continue to be at the front of all the developments that are necessary to offer them the best possible health care right at home,” Donnema said.

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