Elmhurst Memorial’s implantable wireless cardiac monitor a “game changer”
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital is the first hospital in the western suburbs to implant the smallest-available wireless cardiac monitor in a patient.
The Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor System, which is about one-third the size of an AAA battery, allows physicians to monitor a patient's heart for up to three years while remaining virtually undetectable under the patient's skin.
The monitor transmits data to physicians daily, and doctors can request notifications to alert them to cardiac events in their patients.
Allyce Jarzabkowski, 48, of Aurora, had the device implanted in the spring of 2014 at Elmhurst Memorial by Cash Casey, MD, a cardiologist with Elmhurst Memorial Hospital and Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group.
Dr. Casey implanted the device after Jarzabkowski experienced fainting episodes for a period of time that had escaped clear diagnosis despite testing and use of traditional cardiac monitoring devices. Her primary care physician, Emmanuel Linchangco, MD, with Elmhurst Memorial Primary Care Associates in Addison, referred her to Casey.
Drs. Casey and Linchangco wanted to monitor Jarzabkowski’s heart’s arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, which is a risk factor for stroke.
“Allyce’s quality of life is significantly affected by intermittent dizziness and fainting,” Dr. Casey said. “Everyone, including myself, has not been able to identify the root cause. Now that I implanted the Reveal LINQ, we are going to be able to rule in or rule out a cardiac cause of her symptoms once and for all."
External cardiac monitors are not worn for extended periods of time and may not capture an episode of atrial fibrillation. The insertable cardiac monitor can be left in place for up to three years, which increases the chances of detecting a condition.
"This monitor is a game changer in the diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias,” said Dr. Casey. “It’s an easy procedure for the patient and the subsequent monitoring doesn't interrupt their lifestyle while we wait for a diagnosis."
The insertion is done on an outpatient basis. The monitor is placed just below the skin via an incision that is less than 1 cm, and is nearly invisible to the naked eye once inserted.
Each night while Jarzabkowski sleeps, information stored on her monitor is wirelessly transmitted to physicians via a remote monitoring system.
"The device is fantastic. It’s far more convenient than the external device," Jarzabkowski said.
While a continuous record of cardiac activity is transmitted each day, Jarzabkowski has a handheld device she can use to alert her physician when she feels unusual cardiac activity, such as an irregular heartbeat or a fainting episode.
“You don’t have to have anything external attached to you,” Jarzabkowski said. “You can put the little handheld device in your purse. Nothing is visible.”
For more information about heart care at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, visit www.emhc.org/services/cardiology.