One-Stop Heart Monitoring Shop for St George Private
Aug 25, 2015
MINIATURE heart devices implanted under the skin of the chest in just 45 seconds – are providing 24-hour monitoring for patients with potentially life-threatening heart conditions.
St George Private Electrophysiologist Dr Rahn Ilsar discusses the benefits of this “set-and-forget” continuous cardiac monitoring technology.
What is an Injectable Loop Recorder (ILR)?
ILRs are used in the diagnosis of patients suffering from syncope. Syncope (feeling faint, blacking out, unsteadiness, vision problems and headaches) affects 6 per cent of people over the age of 75 according to the Cleveland Clinic.
This device, roughly half the size of an adult’s index finger, monitors the heart’s rhythm and then wirelessly transmits the data back to the treating physician.
Essentially this means patients have 24-hour “eyes and ears” on their heart, transmitting any issues or episodes to their doctor once a day via wifi connection.
What are the patient benefits?
Instead of the patient wearing a Holter which must come off in the shower or pool and only provides monitoring for shorter periods of time (a few days or weeks); this device provides 24-hour-surveillance for three years or until a diagnosis is made.
In the past, these patients could typically visit their cardiologist every 3 to six months. This way, the patient’s diagnosis can be found very rapidly, regardless of where they are or what they are doing.
Are there any side effects, how easy is it to use, how big is the scar and does it have other applications?
There are no known serious side effects; the scar is about 8mm and the procedure is done under local anaesthetic in day surgery. This device is automatic so there is excellent patient compliance! The insertable implantable device is also MRI compatible which is good news for people who may need a hip MRI down track.
Is it covered by Medicare?
Currently this device is Medicare approved for investigation of syncope in patients who have been deemed appropriate.
In addition it is TGA approved for use in helping to diagnose cryptogenic strokes (a stroke with no cause) and palpitations. However at present this use in not covered by Medicare and may incur a direct patient cost of $3900.