Medical City McKinney first hospital in North Texas to use Bluetooth compatible cardiac monitor

Suzanne Hall, 71, a McKinney resident with atrial fibrillation, will start to monitor her heart rhythms and transport data to her cardiac electrophysiologist via her smartphone.

Hall became the first patient in North Texas to receive the Confirm RX™ Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM), the only smartphone compatible ICM designed to help physicians remotely identify cardiac arrhythmias. The device received final FDA approval on Tuesday, November 14.

About the size of a paper clip, the monitor is implanted just under the skin of the chest during a quick, minimally-invasive outpatient procedure. The ICM continuously monitors heart rhythms to detect a range of cardiac arrhythmias, including irregular heartbeats or atrial fibrillation.

Hall, who was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2015, will use the cardiac recorder to check her symptoms on a real-time basis. “Because of the AFib I am tired and feel faint,” says Suzanne Hall. “I will now be able to check my symptoms and know when I am going into AFib.”

Before today, patients would wear a holter monitor for 24 hours or up to two weeks, an event monitor, or a cardiac telemetry monitor. “The downside to these monitors is that they only give you a snapshot in time. If you’re not wearing the monitor then no data is received,” said Dale Yoo, MD, medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at Medical City McKinney.

“The benefit of this implantable cardiac loop recorder is that it can correlate any symptoms a patient may have to their phone via Bluetooth, and we can see if they are having palpitations or any issue with the heart and are able to respond immediately instead of having to wait overnight for information to come in.”

Another benefit to the device is that it provides physicians with daily, real-time data over the course of two years, allowing them to refine and further personalize patient care.

“With constant monitoring we will be able to take patients that have a low risk of stroke off anticoagulants (blood thinners). We can place them back on the medications if the need arises,” said Dr. Yoo. “This way we can manage their blood thinning ability without them being on medication every day.”

Extended monitoring also provides the physician with the data to determine next steps. Data may reveal that a patient needs a pacemaker or defibrillator, and the ICM device will be removed at that time, or it may be replaced after two years with a new device for continued monitoring.