Wireless Pacemakers Help Heart Patients Stay in Touch With Docs

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 13 2009 11:01 AM

American doctors have implanted one of the first wireless pacemakers in the country.

Dr. Rick Henderson, an electrophysiologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center's Heart Center, has revealed that the new wireless pacemakers transmit additional information about the patient's heart with greater frequency.

The expert says that this gives patients the advantage of fewer office visits - often a problem with heart patients living in rural areas - and quicker response to problems.

"The new device gives us information every day. It has the ability to detect changes that are programmed into the device so we can react quickly. It can report 24 hours a day, even when the patient is sleeping," Henderson said.

According to Henderson, all pacemakers have some type of transtelephonic monitoring system that can send data over a telephone line if needed.

"With the wireless device, we can monitor the patient on a daily basis. The device is set to report back to us any abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation. For example, if a patient is having regular heart rhythm, but is having atrial fibrillation every now and then, the device will pick it up sooner and send the information through a transmitter to the device clinic," Henderson said.

A report on the doctors' work suggests that wireless pacemakers are ideal for patients in remote areas who may have prolonged drive times for clinic visits.

It states that where a patient lives, and how far they are from medical centres, will be a factor in who receives the device.

Henderson says that wireless devices will be used more frequently in the future, as well as leadless devices in which the pacemaker does not have to enter the vascular system.

Another future possibility is that wireless devices could be used to monitor blood pressure, reckons Henderson.