Wireless heart monitor implant

Heart patients may be able to avoid long and costly scans and hospital stays after a cardiac episode, with a new implantable device which can continuously monitor a patient’s heartbeat, wirelessly sending the data to their doctor’s computer. The new device is about the size of a peanut, and is implanted through the front of the patient’s chest via a 7mm incision under a local anaesthetic.

It can then remain in place for up to three years, alerting the patient’s GP if a cardiac episode occurs. The devices have just been made available to the Victorian patients, and will be free to both public and private hospital patients who are deemed to be at risk of potentially fatal irregular heart rhythms. Dr Uwais Mohamed, of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, implanted the first device yesterday.

“It does put more onus on the doctor to react, but there is a lot of cost saving … Previously, if people had an episode they would be admitted to hospital, stay in a coronary bed for a few days and have multiple scans … Now with this technology, we can download this information instantly. We can see that their heart has stopped for 10 seconds and we’d call them to see how they’re doing,” Dr Mohamed explained.

It is believed that 100,000 Australians are living with undiagnosed atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. This device could help to identify the cause of those with symptoms, such as dizziness and fatigue.

Read more at the Herald Sun website

What do you think? Is this a huge leap forward for modern medicine? Or does the idea of constant monitoring concern you? Would you consider having one of these devices implanted?