Technology allows patients with revolutionary CRT-ICD devices to travel, work or spend time at home, says Dr Aparna Jaswal, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute
The Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) treatment when applied on heart failure patients for better treatment and management of the disorder allows the patient to enjoy life more fully. The patient’s condition and device activity can be reviewed by their physicians from an Internet website. Using the unique Medtronic CareLink Network remote monitoring service, heart failure patients can transmit critical data from the heart using a standard phone line from home, work or while on vacation. This greatly reduces the need for time-consuming and frequent travel to the physician’s office for device monitoring.
Remote cardiac monitoring technologies provide the convenience of remote monitoring to patients implanted with pacemakers, ICDs and CRT devices. It has been observed that patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure accompanied with a risk of dying from sudden cardiac arrest have much higher energy and activity levels when implanted with CRT. With remote monitoring system at their home, they can also receive expert medical care now with less dependency on frequent device monitoring appointments. More than 10,000 patients worldwide are already using the monitoring system to stay connected with their health care providers from a distance.
It is vital to closely monitor the condition of patients, who have heart failure, and the recent introduction of CRT-ICD devices gives us access to a new level of information about a patient’s activity level, heart rate and existence of irregular heart rhythms, which are common in people who have heart failure.
To use the remote monitoring system, patients hold a computer-mouse like antenna over their chest to transmit data from the device to the doctor via a standard telephone line. Within minutes, the patient’s clinician is able to view the data from any location on a secure Internet website. Based on this information, the physician can make adjustments to the patient’s medication or prescribe additional therapy, if needed. Remote follow-up of these devices provides clinics with a status update on how the device is operating and allows them to view relevant patient data regarding heart failure and rhythm trends. Additionally, clinician access to the system also can help facilitate a timely exchange of device information between various physicians involved in treating heart failure patients – electrophysiologists who implant and monitor CRT devices and cardiologists who follow the patient’s heart failure condition.
With the remote monitoring system the clinicians have a way of accurately getting information from a patient’s device at home – either at a regularly scheduled time or in the case of an unexpected event – and doing a comprehensive review of the data as if they were downloading the information from the patient’s device in the clinic. This advancement in technology will save the patient a trip to the clinic and clinicians also hope to make life more convenient and efficient for both the patient and the physician.