The Valley Hospital is among a handful of hospitals in the nation and the first in New Jersey to implant a newly approved tiny wireless heart monitor that is expected to have a very real impact for patients and doctors. Indicated for use as a diagnostic tool for people suffering from unexplained fainting, dizziness, palpitations or shortness of breath, the device can also help doctors determine if a patient has atrial fibrillation, the most common form of heart rhythm abnormality.
Nick Rotonda, of Upper Saddle River, was the first patient to receive the device at Valley and is counting on it to monitor whether he has any signs of atrial fibrillation or flutter, which could increase his risk for a stroke. Rotonda underwent a procedure at Valley last December to correct his abnormal heart rhythm, and his doctors want to monitor him to make sure he is maintaining normal rhythm.
About one-third the size of a AAA battery and almost 90 percent smaller than similar devices on the market, the device, the LINQ Reveal implantable cardiac monitor, is slipped just beneath the skin with a syringe-like device through an incision that is less than ½ an inch in length. It continuously and wirelessly monitors the heart for up to three years and notifies physicians if patients have significant cardiac events between regular medical appointments. It is also MRI-compatible, allowing patients to undergo magnetic resonance imaging if needed.
“It takes about 5 minutes to implant the device using a local anesthetic,” said Cardiac Electrophysiologist Dan L. Musat, M.D., attending physician at Valley’s Arrhythmia Institute, part of the Valley Heart and Vascular Institute. “There is no need for general anesthetic, the device is not visible in most patients, and patients go home after about an hour,” said Dr. Musat, who performed Valley’s first procedure on Mr. Rotonda.
The device has the ability to communicate wireless via a small tabletop remote monitoring station while patients sleep, allowing them to continue living their lives normally, even away from home.
“This is one of the most innovative new technologies to emerge in cardiology in the last decade,” said Suneet Mittal, M.D., and Director of the Electrophysiology Lab at Valley. “It is so discreet that most patients will not even know it is there and can go about their lives without interruption or discomfort from the device,” Dr. Mittal said. “It truly is a game changer.”
“I know that atrial fibrillation can increase my risk for a stroke, and this monitor gives me peace of mind because I know that if I have an episode the monitor will alert my doctor so he can address it,” Mr. Rotonda said.
The LINQ Reveal is made by Medtronic and was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month (February 2014).
Caption: Cardiac Electrophysiologist Dan L. Musat, M.D., attending physician at Valley’s Arrhythmia Institute, with the newly approved miniature heart monitor.