FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More than two million people in the U.S. have atrial fibrillation - an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to stroke or heart failure.
Now a new device, about one-third the size of a triple-"A" battery allows doctors to monitor their patients for A-fib on a continuous basis.
69-year-old Larry Parker is always on the go.
"I'm pretty active. We ride bikes, we kayak. We dance," Larry Parker told Ivanhoe.
But his active lifestyle came to a halt earlier this year, when he found himself gasping for breath after moving some furniture.
"Told my wife I've got to sit down. I felt real, real dizzy. Never felt like that before, ever," said Parker.
Diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, Larry had surgery to treat his irregular heartbeat. Now 3 months later, he's back at the hospital - this time to have a new tiny monitor implanted in his chest.
"It's one of the most impressive breakthroughs that I've been associated with." John Seger, M.D., Cardiac Electro Physiologist at the Texas Heart Institute told Ivanhoe.
Doctor John Seger says the paper-clip size device called "Reveal Linq" will automatically alert him if Larry has any A-fib episodes for up to three years - helping protect Larry against stroke and heart failure.
"Probably 15-percent of strokes in the united states are on the basis of atrial fibrillation," said Dr. Seger.
The procedure can be done in minutes.
"A little pressure now," Dr. Seger told Parker.
"Painless, well not totally, but it was tolerable." Parker said.Submit
And gives Larry peace of mind to do the things he loves.
The device is 87-percent smaller than previous generations of monitors and allows patients to live an active lifestyle. Since our interview with Larry, he says he's feeling good and plans on skydiving for his 70th birthday later this month.
BACKGROUND: A normal heart beat responds to perfectly timed electrical impulses that allow the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. For those with Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib), the electrical impulses are so fast and chaotic, the atria is not able to pump blood into the ventricle effectively. While there is no one cause for A-Fib, an underlying heart problem may be an association. In 10-percent of A-Fib cases, no previous heart disease is found, and the cause may be related to diet, lifestyle, metabolic imbalances, or genetic factors. Still, in some patients, no pre-determined cause is found.
TREATMENT: A-Fib can be treated with certain antiarrhythmic medications as well as rate control medications, which slow the heart rate, but don't control the rhythm. Pacemakers are the traditional device used to help treat irregular heart rhythm. With the pacemaker, electrodes are 'wired' through the heart, and a small metal box containing a battery and generator are placed in the chest, then both are connected. A doctor can program the pacemaker's computer with an external device and look at the recordings of the pacemaker to adjust it for each individual patient.
(Source: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/atrial_fibrillation/afib.aspx#treated, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/during.html)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: No wires, no surgery. The Reveal Linq is the smallest heart monitor on the market today. One of the main benefits of this device is that it monitors your heart before, during, and after a fainting spell; this allows doctors to identify any other underlying causes of A-Fib, or any heart-related issues. While wirelessly monitoring the heart, the device sends recorded data to a patient monitor which then uploads the data to Medtronic servers for doctor review. Alarms can be preset by the overseeing physician, allowing for quick treatment. Another major component of the Reveal Linq is that the battery lasts up to three years, continuously monitoring and storing data.
(Source: http://www.medtronic.com/patients/fainting/device/our-insertable-cardiac-monitors/reveal-linq-icm/, http://www.medgadget.com/2014/02/medtronic-reveal-linq-insertable-cardiac-monitor-going-on-sale-worldwide-video.html)
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
Insertable Cardiac Monitor
More TOP STORIES News